Residents of the Greater Bridgetown Area will soon get an opportunity to hear about the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI) which is designed to identify, prioritise and structure projects to improve their environmental, urban and fiscal sustainability.

Community meetings for the public will be held on Wednesday, June 17, at the St. Leonard???s Secondary School, Richmond, St. Michael and Wednesday, June 24, at Queen???s College, Husbands, St. James, beginning at 6:00 p.m. both days.

The Greater Bridgetown Area includes Nelson Street, New Orleans, Deacons Road, Haynesville, Bayland, Pinelands, Bush Hall, Clapham, Bonnetts and Carrington Village.??The ESCI is a technical assistance programme sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank which is aimed at helping intermediate cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Initiative will be jointly implemented by the public and private sectors, as well as community-based organisations in the Greater Bridgetown Area.??Acting Senior Town Planner, Rudy Headley, said the Initiative integrated environmental sustainability, comprehensive urban development, fiscal sustainability and good governance.

He pointed out that it provided emerging cities with a set of tools to detect key bottlenecks that they might face in their path towards sustainability; and to weigh and prioritise the identified urban problems to guide investment decisions in the sectors that might generate more impacts.

???The Initiative also allows us to find specific and adequate solutions according to a cost-benefit analysis that would pave the way towards increasing sustainability through prioritised interventions. In addition, solutions should take into consideration the potentially different local sources to finance them as well as the institutional capacity for their implantation; and follow-up on progress and achievements,??? Mr. Headley explained.

He disclosed that three studies crucial for the diagnostic phase of the ESCI would be developed and highlighted them as Climate Change Mitigation, Vulnerability and Environmental Risks Mapping and Urban Growth Analysis and Projections. The Acting Senior Town Planner pointed out that cities were complex, dynamic systems that involved a myriad of interacting components.

He noted that the ESCI begins the process with a rapid assessment of fundamental topics related to sustainable growth, focusing on a few key indicators for each subject in an effort to find out whether action to improve it is urgently required.

He continued: ???A rapid assessment allows cities to move on to the action phase of the initiative faster. Keeping the initial diagnosis light enables cities to focus on developing and implementing innovative solutions to their sustainability issues.???

Mr. Headley stressed that such an evaluation was important since cities were chosen for the ESCI because they were growing quickly, and therefore needed to take steps to resolve their sustainability issues immediately or risk developing in an unsustainable manner which might be more difficult and expensive to correct.

???In this sense, the faster these cities can address the pending issues, be it through legislation, planning, or specific projects, the better for their sustainability,??? he remarked.

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