This paper considers the potential contribution of traditional construction techniques and materials to rebuilding in Port-au-Prince and other areas in Haiti that were devastated by the 2010 earthquake. Based on different examples of housing that collapsed or was damaged by the earthquake, it shows how traditional construction systems often demonstrated better resilience to earthquakes than buildings constructed with modern materials. But it also describes the erosion of traditional knowledge and the pressure on those with traditional building skills to work with modern materials and techniques. It highlights the need to better understand and draw on traditional knowledge while also recognizing that this knowledge needs to evolve and innovate. This includes, where appropriate, the use of modern techniques and materials to help rehabilitate traditional structures and thus combine safety with preservation of a rich architectural heritage. © 2011 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).