Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Maximising public space in the Caribbean

14 December 2020

 

For communities, having space to function, whether it be for work, official activities, sport or entertainment, has never been so important.

 

In the Caribbean, local government has been demonstrating how to maximise the use of public spaces for the benefit of its citizens.

Multiple use for entrepreneurs

In Port-of- Spain, the capital of Trinidad & Tobago, local government has really focused its efforts. Woodford Square has been converted into a Christmas market. This is of multiple use and benefit as it allows entrepreneurs to sell their goods, while the members of the public can learn how to make wine, and other products, using indigenous crops and materials. A true example of Local Economic Development (LED) in practice.

Informal political discussion

Situated opposite the Parliament building, known as the Red House and also aptly called the People’s Parliament, Woodford Square has provided an open forum where citizens discuss topical issues. It is also called the University of Woodford Square for informal political education. 

 

The Band Stand in Woodford Square provides a platform for political meetings and public concerts. 

Impacting on lives in many ways

CLGF Programme Manager, Ms Sandra Singh said: "Through some creative use, a major area has been adapted to provide citizens with a platform which will impact on many aspects of their lives: from employment and commerce, to entertainment and education, with an opportunity to bring people together - with responsive social distancing in place. This is just one example of how local government has such a wide ranging role to play in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, in the face of a major pandemic."

 

Good use of public space will be crucial in the post Covid period to facilitate local economic development and help communities recover, and local government is at the heart of this.

 

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Best practice from the Commonwealth

Local and regional government around the Commonwealth, and throughout the world, is at the core of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Using public space well

  For communities, having space to function, whether it be for work, official activities, sport or entertainment, has never been so important.

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