Letters to the Editor

Fix lopsided development

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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Dear Editor,

Urban areas, particularly Kingston, are becoming too saturated with residents, and especially businesses, and I think that portions of uninhabited lands in other parts of Jamaica can be utilised to address the matter of overcrowding in cities.

The presence of many businesses in one location causes an inflow of clients and customers that is too much for the limited roads and parking spaces to handle. Because people commute from nearby, and even from far, to one location to conduct different businesses, this causes a lot of traffic on the roads.

I have observed that there are efforts being made to widen roads; however, it is unclear how much this will ease traffic congestion. The result of overcrowding in the cities includes noise, disorderly movement of people, long waiting times in lines, garbage pile-up, accumulation of human waste, and a strain on utility resources.

There are four parties that I can think of that are at play here: residents, businesses and public facilities (I call them BPFs), utility companies, and housing developers. The hurdles are as follows: People cannot reside in areas that have no houses or utility infrastructure. Businesses and public facilities (schools, hospitals, commercial entities, etc) will not establish branches in locations where there are no customers because people will prefer to access the services of a business that is located closer to them. Housing developers won't build houses in areas that will not attract potential homeowners. And utility companies will not set up infrastructure in unpopulated locations.

As can be seen, there has to be a coordinated effort to satisfy each party and to lessen the urban overcrowding. I believe that all four parties should collaborate and strategise a manner of launching in other areas where land is unused and the population is less dense.

I am appealing to the prime minister and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to engage in dialogue with other ministries, departments and agencies as well as with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica to devise an approach to disperse businesses and entities across the island so as to bring more jobs and development in each parish, and Jamaica overall. The Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, the Housing Agency of Jamaica, the Urban Development Corporation, the National Works Agency, and utility companies should also look into the matter.

The Writer





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