To date, there have been various attempts at networking in the area of urban and land management in the Caribbean, with different degrees of success. The Caribbean Conference of Town and Country Planning (CCTCP) existed consistently from 1984 to about 1992 and sporadically thereafter for another few years. This network was made up of professional organizations and public agencies and individuals in countries where these did not exist. The TTSP was a founding member of this organization.
There were continuous disagreements on the composition and membership of this network, such as if government departments responsible for planning (sometimes a surveying department as in St Kitts) should participate equally in the CCTCP as professional societies and individual planners. This networking organization did have some success in holding bi-annual meetings, in this pre-internet era, for which it received multilateral funding and helping to spawn the UWI Planning programme. There were many complaints about the style of management of the network coordinator, Lenny St Hill but his tenacious character and hard work kept the network afloat almost single-handedly. I expect that history will be kind to both the CCTCP and Lenny.
While the CCTCP was still limping to its death a group of individuals with the support of the ECLAC regional office, and its Director Len Ishmael formed the Caribbean Planners Network (CPN). This was a predominantly web based network with a web manager paid for by ECLAC. Participants in the network also undertook for ECLAC much needed and critical pieces of planning and land analysis in the Caribbean. This network tried to get at a community of interest in Planning and was individual rather than country or organization based. The website was supposed to provide a forum for professional and intellectual discourse in the profession even though there were a few technical meetings. It did get rid of the messy business of appropriate representation issues and side-stepped the perceived problems of the CCTCP, but did not long survive the move of its patron Len Ishmael to the OECS. The website and manager was sponsored from that office for a while, but this eventually ended. This collection of individuals operating in cyberspace was another good networking attempt that eventually floundered.
Of more recent vintage as networking mechanisms are Caribbean LandNet and the Commonwealth Association of Planners America’s regions meetings. Caribbean LandNet is a network of agencies and individuals working in the area of Land Administration and Management. Its roots are in a 2003 regional meeting held in Trinidad. This network has produced one of the best collections of country case materials but has languished because of a lack of a funded secretariat. The CAP regions meeting actually had reasonably early roots as a networking mechanism from the mid 1980’s when the CAP presidency was in Jamaica. A 1988 CAP sponsored meeting on development standards and a 2006 CAP regions meeting in Barbados had pan English speaking Caribbean participation. Other than these meeting most planning and land networking attempts were largely focused amongst the southern and eastern Caribbean.
Today, the CNULM or blueSpace network aims to continue the excellent work begun by these earlier groups and build on the basis of the efforts and research which preceeded us.