Housing Minister Denis Kellman has challenged Barbadians to see urban areas as a means of investment, capable of creating and generating wealth.
Speaking at the Real Estate Expo, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre over the weekend, Mr. Kellman said that while research showed that the majority of the world???s population now lived in urban areas, within Barbados there was an exodus from these areas.
This may be attributed, he said, to how these areas were designed and managed, as well as the influence or impact of negatives such as congestion, the creation of slums and crime. Additionally, he said, rural areas were now being seen as offering better opportunities.
However, the Minister submitted that the situation could be turned around through the introduction of creative and sustainable ideas and solutions??? ???from investing and beautifying our cities, to the incorporation of tourism that is developed and managed in such a way that it benefits the resident population and does not contribute to the worsening of the urban environment, but rather to its enhancement???.
An important area of investment, he suggested, was the conversion of derelict or unused properties to commercial usage to help with growing tourism demands; or alternatively as housing solutions. Mr. Kellman told the real estate professionals attending the expo that he was interested in hearing their ideas about the future of urban Barbados.
This input, he said, would help shape the Ministry???s Plan of Action which will introduce specific programmes leading to policies and strategies for Barbados??? urban areas over the next 20 years.??This Plan of Action is among documents Barbados will be taking to the HABITAT III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, in October.