Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment, at the University of Technology (UTech) Dr. Garfield Young, is calling for a greater buy-in from all stakeholders, towards the establishment of Papine as a University Town.
He made the call at the 2nd International Built Environment Conference held at the institution’s campus in Papine, on November 7.
Dr. Young noted that the University has had the plans for some time and is hoping that it will move from being just a plan on paper.
“We have done a 3-D model of what Papine should look like, we have redesigned the traffic and we think that this particular part of Papine should be pedestrianised and it looks good on paper. Papine is the intellectual heart of the Caribbean, not just Jamaica,” Dr. Young told JIS News.
He pointed out that the geographic space not only houses UTech, The University of the West Indies and the United Theological College of the West Indies, but also several other educational facilities.
“A lot of people who want to engage in higher discourse converge on this space,” Dr. Young said.
According to the Dean, there has been an ongoing discourse among students pertaining to how a university town should look and how it could better support them.
“When we talk about a sustainable building, a green building, why don’t we demonstrate what that would look like in the town that our universities are [located].
What would be the implications and what are the potential for life and living not only for those transient residents who access education in the space, but for those who will live permanently in this space. The potential is massive if we think about it,” Dr. Young posited.
While pointing out that successive administrations have expressed excitement at the idea, Dr. Young said the University does not have the funds to move the plans forward, but can assist the Government with implementation.
“This is the gate way to the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site, it’s such a very important space so we want to engage all the stakeholders, so that we show respect to the natural environment,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr. Young stressed that the University stands ready to continue the dialogue towards developing Papine as a university town.
“We recognise that we can’t survive without enhancing the built environment and so we want to superimpose the built environment, but in a way that it is sustainable. The way it exists now it needs rethinking, it needs redesigning, somethings need demolishing. We need to just reshape how things are,” he said.