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Developers in the public interest? The role of urban development corporations in the Anglophone Caribbean

David Dodman

Journal article

Urban centres in the Caribbean face a wide variety of infrastructural and planning challenges. One of the key strategies that has been adopted by national governments to address these challenges is the formation of urban development corporations. These are governmental agencies with powers to facilitate urban regeneration in specific areas. This paper examines the history, role and function of urban development corporations in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) was formed in Jamaica in 1968, the St John’s Development Company (SJDC) in Antigua and Barbuda was created in 1986, and the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) was established in 1994. These bodies share the characteristic of having far-reaching planning and development powers within specific areas. For example, the SJDC is able ‘to acquire, manage, or dispose of lands and to lay out, construct, and maintain roads, buildings, public parks, piers, car parks, and other public amenities’ within specified designated areas, whilst Jamaica’s UDC is empowered ‘to carry out and/or secure the laying out and development of “designated areas”. These three urban development corporations can be seen to act as developers in the public interest, as agents of modernisation, and as responses to neoliberalisation. However, whilst they have succeeded in effecting large-scale transformations to the urban landscape, this has often been achieved through a top-down development process with exemption

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Publication information

  • External: X00016
  • Published: Mar 2008 - Royal Geographical Society
  • Area: Caribbean
  • Theme: Urban
  • Source pub: The Geographical Journal
  • Journal ref: Volume 174, Issue 1, pages 30–44
  • Language: English

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Dodman, D. (2008). "Developers in the public interest? The role of urban development corporations in the Anglophone Caribbean." The Geographical Journal 174(1), pages 30-44.
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