International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

Unregulated residential housing in the Caribbean

Maraval, Trinidad.

On average housing and development policies in the Caribbean region are over forty years old and provide limited guidance for residential development. As a result for decades, real estate trends in our countries have lent themselves to the purchase of undeveloped land for the building of a homestead. The continued loss of property is a result of unregulated development as the widespread loss of natural habitats in hillsides and coastal shorelines increases the severity of damage during storms. The preference for privately maintained cul-de-sacs, dead ends or curvy hillside roads become labyrinths for emergency responders, making it difficult to access the residents in need.

 

Houses are largely built with concrete blocks and other materials that do not encourage the free flow of air. The tightly packed composition of these materials and surfaces retain the heat indoors, therefore the houses rely on air conditioners and other electronic devices to keep indoors amendable.  Higher temperatures increase consumption levels of energy when people seek to ease the impact of the heat. The resulting strain on the electric grid result in an overall reduction in the strength of electrical output and increase in the frequency of power outages.

 

The coordination of all the relevant agencies in addressing the unregulated development are not always efficient - there is a lack of enforcement and the outdated development policies are loosely interpreted. Development must be properly regulated and a deeper sense of awareness must be stimulated among our citizenry to manage the rate of residential development more prudently. Continued research and sharing of global best practices are needed in the Caribbean.

 

Author

Carianne Johnson, Project Officer, CARILED -Caribbean Local Economic Development Project

 

For more information

Contact Project Manager, Viviana Rubbo: v.rubbo@ifhp.org