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Catching up with Reality – the informal settlement challenge in the Caribbean. Robin Rajack Presentation at the International Conference on the Built Environment – Kingston, Jamaica August 3 rd 2005. ‘ we the people ’.

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catching up with reality the informal settlement challenge in the caribbean

Catching up with Reality– the informal settlement challenge in the Caribbean

Robin Rajack

Presentation at the International Conference on the Built Environment – Kingston, Jamaica

August 3rd 2005

we the people
‘we the people’
  • “While the wise men rumble and fight for their souls, we the people have always been ahead of our leaders”

David Rudder, 1989

caribbean informal settlement reality
Caribbean Informal Settlement Reality
  • Informal Settlers are numerous; not a renegade few
    • Jamaica: Estimated 595 sites, 75% on State land
    • Trinidad: Estimated 250 informal settlements on State land; 23,000 households applied for regularisation. Similar number may be on private lands
    • Guyana: Estimated 215 sites, almost half of which deemed ‘zero-tolerance sites’
    • Informal settlement also a significant issue in Haiti, Grenada, Bahamas, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis etc.
caribbean informal settlement reality cont d
Caribbean Informal Settlement Reality (cont’d)
  • Many informal settlements are well established

- 2/3 informal settlements in Jamaica are >10yrs old

- 2/3 informal settlers in Trinidad have been on site > 10yrs old

what it boils down to
What it boils down to
  • We cannot expect to compete effectively with the informal sector in the delivery of shelter if we continue to operate with cumbersome procedures, unrealistic standards, disjointed and unwieldy organisations, overly conservative approaches to the use of public land and highly incomplete data.
  • We need to catch up!
data has to catch up
Data has to catch up
  • Many gaps for Caribbean countries in the World Development Indicators 2005
  • Census data typically does not give much insight into informal settlements (ownership of house equated with owner-occupier)
  • Land information gaps also on account of dated land information management systems
  • Many nuances not detected by routine data collection
data has to catch up cont d
Data has to catch up (cont’d)
  • Value of existing satellite images and aerial photos not adequately extracted
  • Real Estate data not systematically available and not routinely used in public-sector led land-use decisions
land supply has to catch up
Land Supply has to catch up
  • Historical roots in land ownership distribution inequity
  • Regulation of land markets and land development
  • Taxation of vacant land as an instrument
  • Public land ownership and withholding of land
infrastructure has to catch up
Infrastructure has to catch up

While in most cases national infrastructure service levels

are relatively high, levels are significantly lower in pockets

of informal settlement

Outdoor pit-latrines are the main toilet facilities in informal settlements in Jamaica and Trinidad (approx 70%)

Roads in informal settlements are typically unpaved

infrastructure has to catch up cont d
Infrastructure has to catch up (cont’d)

Data on water and electricity access are deficient but levels of servicing in informal settlements are perceived to be well below national averages

Predominant building material for housing in informal

settlements is board

institutional frameworks have to catch up
Institutional Frameworks have to catch up
  • Institutional Frameworks include:
    • Laws
    • Regulations
    • Procedures
    • Instruments
    • Standards
    • Customs
    • Organisational Structures
institutional frameworks have to catch up cont d
Institutional Frameworks have to catch up (cont’d)
  • Move toward incremental development of infrastructure
  • Move toward the self-help methodology for project implementation
  • Recognizing the form and function of Family land ownership
  • Starter Standards manual from Jamaica
  • Sou-Sou Land model from Trinidad
organisational structures have to catch up
Organisational Structures have to catch up
  • Recent institutional experiments in land administration
    • Jamaica – National Land Agency
    • Guyana – Lands and Surveys Commission
    • Trinidad – Land Settlement Agency
organisational structures have to catch up cont d
Organisational Structures have to catch up (cont’d)
  • Trinidad – Land Settlement Agency
    • Move toward direct power and responsibility for the entire recruitment process
    • Move toward direct power and responsibility for the entire procurement process
    • Move toward an executive (working) board
    • Move toward higher compensation and non-monetary rewards
instruments have to catch up
Instruments have to catch up
  • Instruments should be tailored to the specific interest or freedom for which there is a demand
    • e.g. Move from conventional to incremental tenure in Trinidad (Certificate of Comfort, Statutory Lease, Deed of Lease); many others in Payne 2002
  • Instruments should be flexible to adapt to changing reality
    • e.g. Leasehold that converts to freehold after 20 yrs in Trinidad sugar industry housing program
resources have to catch up
Resources have to catch up

With the right incentives settlers will bring their

own-resources to bear on their housing needs (evidence

from Trinidad)

Scope to better mobilize remittances into institutionalised

housing finance

Political will is key

regularisation guidelines
Regularisation Guidelines
  • Guideline 1: Regularisation Programs should include incremental paths to the attainment of their goals
regularisation guidelines cont d
Regularisation Guidelines (cont’d)
  • Guideline 2: The implementing Agency for regularization programs should be equipped with sufficient autonomy and institutional freedom to respond efficiently to the dynamics of informality
regularisation guidelines cont d31
Regularisation Guidelines (cont’d)
  • Guideline 3: The implementing methodology for regularization programs should entail closely coordinated multi-disciplinary interventions
regularisation guidelines cont d32
Regularisation Guidelines (cont’d)
  • Guideline 4: Large-scale regularization programs should be governed by legislation
regularisation guidelines cont d33
Regularisation Guidelines (cont’d)
  • Guideline 5: Regularisation programmes should be based on conservative estimates of short and medium-term revenue increases.
some key questions
Some Key Questions
  • What is the most appropriate strategy for bringing State land into play?
  • How do we reconcile the need for more appropriate building and infrastructure standards with environmental and hazard mitigation concerns?
  • How can the tenure security of informal settlers be increased without the State losing its leverage to provide high-value infrastructure services and redevelopment options in prime locations?
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