Taiwan sends experts to assist

A technical team from Taiwan's International Cooperation Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), with expertise in urban planning, heritage management, community-based project development, and eco-museum project development, has concluded a workshop for Belizean planners, professionals and academics at the House of Culture in Belize City.

The four-day workshop ended on Thursday, February 16. It was a prelude to implementing the $11 million Belize City Master Plan Project proposed for downtown Belize City.

The Belize City Master Plan came out of an urban development study of Belize City conducted by the Government of Belize with a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank in 2010.

This plan calls for creating an urban development strategy and plan for Belize City for the next 20 years.

The Belize City Master Plan concluded that urban sprawl, poor and inadequate land use and the absence of urban planning have caused a gradual breakdown of the City's capacity to address the present-day needs of its population.

The City is even less able to perceive and address future needs. The project proposes that urban development in the city must not only be based on re-defining and improving the modern urban fabric of the city. The aim must also be to rediscover the true value of Belize City, and use it as a foundation to revitalize the City, using downtown as a catalyst for development to achieve the vision set by Horizon 2030.

Because Belize City was the first mainland settlement of the country, and the first capital (discounting the early settlement capital of St.George's Caye), it has faced severe challenges in the past three centuries from political change, natural and man-made disasters, which have impacted on its primacy as the largest urban center in the country.

The plan therefore addresses the basic needs of Belize City today and provides some tools to plan for tomorrow.

The Reporter