Taiwanese Experts Try To Wrap Their Head Around Belize City

A team of experts from Taiwan are in the country to carry out a 4 day workshop as a part of the Belize City Rejuvenation Project. In 2010, the Government of Belize received a grant from the IDB to conduct an urban development study of Belize City, and to develop an urban development strategy and plan for Belize City for the next twenty years.

Now, anyone who's seen this city grow in fits and starts, will know that it naturally resists order and embodies disorder.

But, the Belize Rejuvenation Project proposes that urban development in the city, should rediscover the true value of Belize City, using downtown as a catalyst for development, in order to achieve the vision set by 2030.

In view of this rather grand vision, a group of Taiwanese experts in the fields of Urban Planning, Heritage Management, Community-based Project Development, and Eco-Museum Project Development are here. They're having a workshop as a prelude to the project which initially is budgeted for slightly over 11 million dollars.

7news caught up with the team as they toured the downtown area today:

Shari Williams - Communications Officer, NICH
"Well, the plan definitely is to rehabilitate, rejuvenate, and bring back life to downtown Belize City. Over the years, Belize, as you all know, had been the first capital of the country. It has gone through a lot of natural and man-made disasters. And this has all diminished its capacity to take care of the residents of the city, both present and in the future. And so, in 2010, the Government of Belize received a loan from IDB to conduct and urban development study, and also to come up with a strategic plan to for downtown Belize City for the next 20 years. And so, this is the plan for Belize City. I'd spend all day telling you about how awesome the plan is. I know that $11 million has been budgeted for this plan. I know that it includes the House of Culture as an exclusive tourism area. Definitely, it's going to be great, but at the same time it's not just rejuvenation for rejuvenation's sake. We want to bring back life to Belize City."

Monica Bodden
"Have you taken into consideration that by its very nature - by instinct - this city resists orderliness?"

Shari Williams
"I'm sure it does, but I honestly believe that Belize City can be one of the best cities in the region. Orderliness is necessary, but it's more than to just preserve our historic places. Belize City is one of the very few Caribbean cities that still have a lot of the colonial buildings still intact. And so, we want to identify these buildings; we want to allocate funds in order to help to preserve them, and all in all, to just bring back life - bring back the feel, the essence of what city life used to be, to keep it that way, and alt the same time developing it in an urban way."

The workshop concludes on Thursday.

Channel 7