Patricia Vert | Stop development duplicity | On point

This year, the construction sector will remain dynamic. Bodes well for citizens’ associations and organized and vigilant neighborhood communities. Citizens must know their rights and enforce their covenants while developing and improving the value of properties and their neighborhoods. The development sector will become orderly through the activism of strong and alert citizens operating by mutual agreement.

Government authorities will encourage and facilitate local residents willing to undertake developments in their neighborhoods, including those in concert with outside developers, without undue hindrances or delays.

Jamaica’s capital, with its historic cityscape of downtown Kingston, will be regenerated in 2022. Its heritage footprint will be revitalized in accordance with partisan-free urban development guidelines that will include diverse residential communities. This is essential to any successful urban restoration exercise. Residential integration in all areas must be allowed within what I call the heritage capital of downtown Kingston.

Implement in 2022 the public-private partnership strategy already formulated and approved since 2017 thanks to the combined efforts of downtown stakeholders and residents. This strategy makes it possible to preserve the historic footprint of the heritage capital, with a large part of its historic urban fabric instead of the currently underway demolitions planned inside the heritage capital to make way for large speculative projects. heights that are currently failing globally and are also scientifically unsustainable, with high carbon footprints increasing global warming and intensifying climate change. Do citizens want to continue watching Jamaican shores recede, as evidenced by the rapid disappearance of Healthshire Beach in Kingston Harbor? Note that the proper name on maps and historical documents is “Healthshire”. So where does “Hellshire” come from?


The Kingston waterfront and the vital market district of downtown Kingston are the keys to the economic viability of the Heritage Capital, which is typical of all downtowns around the world. Therefore, in 2022 renovate the unoccupied waterfront office building opposite the Jamaica Stock Exchange to become a vibrant mixed development for residential and boutique hotels with commercial activities.

Above all, the minister will appoint a dedicated and qualified government planner in 2022, which has become extremely late. Unfortunately, filling this gap has been remarkable and extremely critical. He / she will be allowed to function professionally for the goodwill of all citizens, in the general interest of the nation, and allowed to perform the work without undue interface. Get this office up and running quickly for the efficient growth and development of the construction industry.

Most important for 2022, the 2017 Interim Development Order of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will be confirmed. NEPA and the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation as well as other municipalities in Jamaica must operate in accordance with the law. They should ensure that they are operating within their designated and mandated functions.

This year Jamaica is celebrating its 60th anniversary of independence, but the main legislation for governance of the Jamaican construction industry is Land Use Planning Act 42 of 1957 and this predates independence. “Therefore, in the context of the 60th anniversary, should we initiate a process of revising the T&CP law? Critically, there are two key instruments attached to this 1957 law: first, the 1966 Confirmed Development Ordinance (DO); second, the 2017 Provisional Planning Ordinance (PDO).

Understand that the birth of Jamaican urban planning is due to Otto Koenigsberger (1909-1999), one of the founders of modern urban development planning for rapidly growing cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1953, Koenigsberger, after a short period as a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, became Senior Advisor to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and took charge of the Department for Development and Tropical Studies of the Association of Architects School of Architecture (AA). This AA department published the Tropical Housing and Construction Handbook: Climate Design.

During this period, the United Kingdom assigned planning professionals to its colonies in the tropics to establish urban development and governance authorities. Koenigsberger, considered the father of town planning, developed a concept of “action planning” which immediately gained intellectual and professional acclaim and which remains widely accepted internationally. He tested and refined this in Singapore in the 1950s – in this atmosphere of change and action planning, Jamaica’s T&CP law was enacted.

The government’s first urban planner was David Wilson Spreull (1911-1995), trained at the Liverpool School of Architecture and part of the urban planning movement in developing countries. He was assigned to Jamaica by the British government in the 1940s and worked until 1965. Charles [Bill] Hodges, an AA graduate who also studied town planning, succeeds Spreull. In 1962, the year of Jamaica’s independence, Neil Richards and Kingsley Robotham were the first Jamaicans to enter the AA to study architecture under the Department of Tropical Architecture. Both returned to the island and spent a few professional years working in the government town planner’s office.


Arguing from his 1950s concept of “action planning”, Koenigsberger proposed that the planning process begin by defining a broad “guiding concept” for the future development of a city. This for Jamaica became the 1966 DO, also the 2017 AOP. A “watchdog” process put in place by the local authority to continuously monitor progress and change continued. This was necessary to create a living organization, preferably anchored in the structure of local government, constantly supposed to deal with planning issues and keep the basic design of the plan alive.

This is where the spirit and precedence of Section 11 of the Jamaican T&CP Act 1957 resides, according to which the KSAMC and other municipal corporations, as the “local authority” to which the claims of ‘permission to develop land are subject, may grant permission “unconditionally or subject to such conditions as they see fit or may refuse permission.” In addition, the local planning authority “will take into account the provisions of the planning order” “, namely the DO 1966, also the PDO 2017.

Koenigsberger pointed out that town planning [Town and Country] the authority would then play a dynamic role in promoting and steering private sector investments and in supporting community initiatives to ensure that in partnership, the “guiding concept” of development is maintained for the benefit of all those who have a stake. stake in the future of the city.

All of this echoes participatory planning, full inclusion and citizen participation. The concept of “Action Planning” continues globally. Yet after more than 60 years in Jamaica, he deteriorated into duplicity. the oxford dictionary defines duplicity as “dishonest behavior aimed at making someone believe something that is not true”. It is vital to end the duplicity of development as a nation on the verge of celebrating its diamond anniversary. In 2022, we will have to anticipate.

– Patricia Green, PhD, is a Chartered Architect, graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture and former Director of the Caribbean School of Architecture, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology Jamaica. Send your comments to [email protected]

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