Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Business incentivisation central to new city - UDC

Published:Sunday | October 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Dr Damian Graham, general manager of the Urban Development Corporation.

The Urban Development Corporation says that it continues the search for the site for Jamaica's third city but notes that the master plan contemplated will lean towards business incentivisation.

The agency is pursuing the project in stages: first, identifying the area to be designated as a city; then developing the master plan for it; and implementing the city as the third phase.

The task was assigned to it by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in 2016 as a means of alleviating urban overflow and taking pressure off the business and industrial capital of Kingston.

The UDC told Gleaner Business that incentives for businesses to be established in the new city will be a part of the plan.

 

MASTER PLAN STAGE

 

"Phase two, which deals with the master plan stage, will not only address land-use zoning, but also identify strategies to finance and implement the proposals laid out in the master plan. Therefore the incentives to attract businesses locally, regionally, and internationally will be defined at that stage," the UDC told Gleaner Business.

It aligns with similar planning elsewhere in the world, where the developers of new cities are picking winners as a way to generate commerce and build an economic base for the new urban centres.

In Kenya, for example, the Konza Techno City is being touted as the future Silicon Valley of Africa. As outlined at the blogsite inverse.com, the city is being built 37 miles outside of Nairobi, with the government already pouring US$14.5 billion into an effort to attract top tech companies to the area.

The aim, according to inverse.com, is to complete the city by 2019, and by 2020, to create 100,000 jobs. The aim is to bring in over US$1 billion annually.

The UDC said that the Third City Planning Committee created for the project has been holding consultations aimed at "reviewing and refining the terms of references relating to the site-selection methodology to facilitate an unbiased selection of the optimal site for the third city."

The agency did not say when the selection of the location would be made, only that it would happen after "due process is followed".

Shyril McIntosh-Wilson has been appointed project planner-manager.

The Third City committee's first technical workshop on the 'smart city' was held on September 27.

"The development of a third city is being envisaged as becoming a location from which planning can start afresh from the ground up," said UDC director William Tavares-Finson. "Resilience to climate change will be built in to afford that location the requisite infrastructure to support the new world order of smart growth and innovation," he said at the workshop.

Jamaica's two cities are Kingston and Montego Bay. Portmore, which is a dormitory community to Kingston, has been designated as a municipality.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com