Kingston overhaul will inspire hope amid squalor
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Congratulations to Mr Delroy Chuck and The Gleaner for starting a dialogue on the critical subject of housing and urban redevelopment.
Government involvement is certainly imperative if we are to transform our city, either by encouraging development by the private sector or by existing residents themselves. Mr Chuck focuses on property with known and regularised ownership while The Gleaner, in its editorial, hints at the difficulty of developing "abandoned" property.
My own experience has shown that ownership of most premises in Kingston's ghettos is in a state of developmental limbo. This is the result of an ambiguity of ownership caused by abandonment through migration and other aspects of urban evolution.
Some sort of government involvement could revitalise ownership of thousands of properties so that they can be developed by and for our entire population - starting with the existing residents themselves.
This would allow the national yearning for upward mobility to transform lower class into middle class and would begin to transform our ghettos into 'neighbourhoods' and 'communities'. It would then make the areas attractive to small and medium-scale developers servicing an uptown (or downtown) middle-class market.
Such an initiative would help to remove Kingston's handicaps of hopelessness, squalor and insecurity, maximise the use of infrastructure, create opportunity, integrate our society and nurture national economic growth.