Author: Kimberley Wint
Preserving the Heartbeat of Trenchtown: A Vision for Urban Renewal
Studio: MArch Thesis
Advisor: Benjamin Gianni
Urbanization has increased the demand for housing in major cities across the Caribbean. Jamaica is one of several islands dealing with the overwhelming difficulty of improving the living conditions of individuals living in informal settlements. As the island has continued to urbanize, an insufficient supply of adequate and affordable housing, most notably for low-income households has made squatting commonplace. In the heart of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, the inner-city Trench Town neighbourhood is plagued with crime, historic political corruption and urban decay — posing challenges for sustainable urban development. Through an in-depth analysis of the historical, political, cultural and architectural context of Trench Town, this thesis proposes a series of interventions to promote a higher standard of living. Increasing the supply and quality of housing, as well as accommodating informal economic activity can be a catalyst for community change. It offers insights into how best to build empathic and healthy neighbourhoods that meet individual residents’ desires while contributing to the unity and wellbeing of the community as a whole. This redevelopment proposal for Trench Town will provide residents with the advantages of homeownership, reduce levels of crime, stimulate business opportunities and expand tourism. In doing so, the project respects Trench Town’s rich architectural and social history that has cultural and economic value.