From Derelict to Dynamic: The Rise of Rose Town, Jamaica
This once-forlorn Jamaican town has been rejuvenated into a sustainable community with a future to look forward to.
Ten years ago, Rose Town was considered a no-go zone. It was an area torn apart by decades of harrowing violence, resulting in the demolition and abandonment of houses, roads and community pillars, including the library and town hall. Piles of rubble, graffiti-strewn scrap metal and rubbish seemed at odds with its tropical assets: crystal-clear skies, Blue Mahoe trees and endless sunshine.
HRH The Prince of Wales first visited Rose Town in 2001 at the request of local residents, and was struck by the grave need to regenerate the area. Four years later, The Prince’s Foundation and members of the community hatched a master plan to bring the troubled town back to life. Their first port of call was establishing a core group – The Rose Town Foundation – which would work closely with The Prince’s Foundation on all of the planned developments.
To further involve and inspire residents, The Prince’s Foundation also established a Building Crafts Apprentice Training Programme, which allowed young members of the community to gain vital building skills and then put them into practice. Examples of the BCA’s hard work include the removal of road barricades and the renovation of the Rose Town library.
More recently, the Foundation successfully transformed the neighbourhood’s most eminent building – a concrete, art deco-inspired dwelling from the 1960s – into a thriving women’s enterprise project, complete with a communal farm. Named the Rollins Enterprise Centre, this newly instated space reflects the period and style in which it was built, and regularly houses workshops in beneficial subjects such as farming, waste management and textile production.
Elsewhere, the Foundation has helped to renovate a large road that runs from the north to the south of Rose Town, physically re-connecting a disjointed community. While an installation of 10 new standpipes brought running water back into the neighbourhood.
Today, the future of Rose Town looks brighter than ever. In the next few years, the government hopes to remove all carbonated zinc fencing from the outside of residential properties and replace it with friendlier, more secure barriers. It also aspires to create a new east to west road, install a sports court and landscape the town centre.
In collaboration with the board, the Foundation hopes to continue to work with the local Rose Town Foundation to ensure the progress continues.