MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, says the Government will be leveraging science and technology to build climate-smart houses.
Chang, who was delivering closing remarks at the 2017 Regional Housing Conference in Montego Bay on Friday, noted that stakeholder deliberations during the forum around the use of technology to assist in land selection, spatial planning and housing design provide impetus for the ministry to incorporate greater scientific inputs in future developments.
“Jamaica will continue to experience warmer temperatures and by 2023, a mere six years from now, our coolest day will be hotter than any in previous years. The environmentalists across all agencies have served a clear warning to the Government that (we) must take heed and build homes that are…more suited to warmer temperatures,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Chang said work undertaken by the University of the West Indies in seismic projections and research findings presented by the University of Technology on the value of designing and building homes to create safe communities, as opposed to establishing structures solely for shelter, were compelling.
“The use of Geographic Information System (GIS)-based technologies and software and the research being done by our own geo-spatial professionals at the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMD) in this ministry, provide useful tools to assist us in building homes that will indeed be safe and resilient,” he stated.
Chang argued that stakeholders at the forum also underscored the broad considerations which are critical to governance and management of housing in Jamaica. These, he noted, include providing safe and quality housing; financing and access to affordable homes; and environmental preservation.
The minister said consequent on the housing sector’s high dependence on cross-sectoral and non-state input, the discussions on joint financing of housing developments involving public and private sector agencies were invaluable.
Against this background, Chang said the knowledge and information garnered at the three-day conference would serve to guide the Government’s policies for future housing developments.
The Regional Housing Conference, the first to be convened in the Caribbean, was hosted by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation under the theme: ‘Providing Safe, Legal and Affordable Housing for All: From Policy to Implementation’.
Participants included: representatives from the World Bank, policymakers, members of academia, technocrats and housing agencies from across the Caribbean.
Among the sponsors were: the National Housing Trust, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Housing Agency of Jamaica and First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited.