We have been working in Rose Town, Jamaica since 2005, after HRH, The Prince of Wales visited one of the country’s most deprived and strife-ridden areas.
Our mission since has been to work closely with the community and stakeholders to give these areas in Jamaica a truly sustainable future. We began by working to help establish a community group, the Rose Town Benevolent Society, to build a sense of community ownership.
In November 2008, the Rose Town architectural collaborative workshop took place in order to develop plans and designs for the construction and renovation of houses and shops.
At the same time, we launched our Building Crafts Apprentice (BCA) Training Programme to empower young community members by giving them the skills they need to work on the buildings in their area. As architects created plans at the Rose Town Community Library for new houses, these young people learnt the construction skills needed to build them.
The plans developed in the workshop, will be employed by the trainees, as they restore homes and build new ones in Rose Town. The new designs are based on a neighbourhood survey of Rose Town’s existing buildings.
Since the 2008 workshop, there has been a neighbourhood clean up, road barricades have been removed, the community library has been renovated and a community centre has been constructed by our BCAs. At the same time, we have worked with residents in this largely squatter community to help them gain titles to their homes a key step.
We have published a report that documents the work done and functions as an architectural best practice guide, to help assist the continued renovation and community revival of Rose Town. This year we also sent our first tutors out to Jamaica, where they worked with a team of local students to revive a derelict building, giving it a new life as the office of the Rose Town Foundation for the Built Environment.
The project is now beginning to focus on infrastructure improvements within the community. With support from His Royal Highness, from the Emir of Kuwait and from DFID and USAID, sewer and water lines will be installed and roads paved, for a major improvement in health, sanitation and safety.