Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, has highlighted the importance of multisector collaboration in the development of a holistic urban renewal agenda.
“Urban renewal ought to be holistic, not just prioritising the revitalisation of physical infrastructure but also incorporating economic, social and cultural renewal objectives,” he said.
“Having a Ministry designated to urban renewal creates an opportunity to synthesise existing projects, programmes and policies that are spread across several ministries while including the work of private-sector entities. However, it requires a collaborative effort among stakeholders to develop the framework for Jamaica’s urban renewal agenda,” he added.
Minister Charles Jr., who was addressing a stakeholders consultation at Jamaica House recently, noted that the Government, through its focus on urban renewal “is not seeking to reinvent the wheel”.
“The urban renewal project in Jamaica is not new; it is, in fact, an ongoing project spanning decades, and so the Ministry seeks to establish cohesion across programmes and across multiple sectors,” he pointed out.
He noted that the area is, however, being prioritised as the Government strives to achieve the national development plan, Vision 2030 and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
“The coupling of urban renewal with housing, environment and climate change must result in a distinct and positive outcome that reflects cohesive, sustainable development and supports Jamaica’s efforts in meeting international obligations to which the country is a party,” Minister Charles Jr. said.
Participants in the consultation session highlighted the importance of linking ongoing work in developing the National Spatial Plan to the objective of designing a framework for urban renewal.
The National Spatial Plan outlines the governance framework for the optimal and effective use and management of Jamaica’s natural resources
Stakeholders in attendance included representatives from the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), National Housing Trust (NHT), Ministry of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), University of Technology (UTech), municipal corporations and industry experts locally and across the diaspora.