The RDIFund project: “Leveraging Built and Cultural Heritage for Economic Development in East Port of Spain can be considered a success, gaining admiration from not just academics, policymakers and urban planners, but also nationwide respect and community support from the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
In support of a previous initiative proposed by the Heritage City Growth Pole Initiative, the project sought to understand the built and cultural assets within the communities of East Port of Spain as it was known locally to possess a rich heritage. Taking it a step further, the project also identified strategies by reviewing international models that were used to leverage heritage assets to stimulate economic development.
Archival research provided a historical framework (Click here) that guided the establishment of inventories of built (Click here) and cultural heritage (Click here). The physical inventories were also supplemented by oral histories to define what these assets meant to the community. The assets in these inventories were also mapped using a Geographic Information System (GIS) (Click here) which was then followed by subsequent analysis which identified key conglomerates of assets, which could justify further investment. Supplementing this information also was the utilization of the Participatory 3 Dimensional model (8ft x8ft), which was utilised by the project team to ascertain the community’s perspective of heritage within East Port of Spain. A time lapse video (Click here) was used to demonstrate its construction and participation of members in the community.
Additionally, an understanding of the various urban and regional planning documents for the area was also achieved, as well as potential innovation strategies were outlined recommended to leverage built and cultural heritage for depressed inner city revitalization in the Trinidadian context, and for the potential of testing this model in other cities in the region (Click here).
Since the last project post in June 2014, the RDIFund project was officially ended in March 2015, and in that time many notable impacts and achievements have resulted. Key accomplishments include:
- Engagement of the government in Urban Revitalization
- Strengthening of Community Planning
- Meaningful engagement of the community through partnerships
- Understanding the evolution of settlement in East Port of Spain
- Hot-spotting of cultural clusters to potentially attract future investment on an heritage interactive map
- New Teaching tools for the Community in the form of a Participatory 3-Dimensional Model
- Innovation Model
- Understanding administrative boundaries in East Port of Spain
- Knowledge Dissemination to policymakers and urban professionals
- Documentary “City on the Hill” (Click here).
Additionally, a research booth at the UWI Research Exposition, held at the St. Augustine campus on the 23-25th September, 2015 also highlighted the project and its accomplishments. The main exhibition included the final Participatory 3-Dimensional model (P3DM), the time-lapse video of the P3DM, the Heritage Asset Map of East Port of Spain, as well as a poster summarising the work of the project. A screening of the film “City on the Hill” was also shown at the Exposition.
The film “City on the Hill” has also been featured at the Caribbean Urban Forum (CUF) 2014 and 2015, also at the Caribbean Studies Association, New Orleans. The film was also entered in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2015, where it won the People’s Choice Award. Post project initiatives for the film also facilitated the insertion of French subtitles, which emerged from discussions between the CNULM and the Council for Architecture, Town planning and Environment (CAUE) at the in October 2015, Guadeloupe (Click here). This effort was geared to enhance the relationship between the French and English speaking planners within the Caribbean.
Additional information on the project can be found on the following links: