Structure and development of Kingston, Jamaica





Social aspects



Urbanization problems

More maps and pictures

References and links


Social aspects


Kingston is home of the National Art Gallery, that hosts contemporary exhibits yearly, and also houses a permanent collection of Jamaica’s fine art, particularly sculpture from the well known Edna Manley. There is also the Edna Manley School of visual arts, where students are trained in various visual art techniques such as drawing sculpture, painting as well as graphic design.

Along particular commercial strips, a variety of local artists use sidewalks as a place of business.  It is in places like Half Way Tree that one may find basketry, rugs brooms and paintings to name a few.  The more professional artists have contracts with several tourist stores in locations such as Devon House and along Half Way Tree road.   

Ward TheatreThe performance arts are also a spectacular part of the Jamaican culture.  With a tradition of story telling of folklore, this is no surprise.  Kingston facilitates number of theatres ways that host events such as the National Festival, and the National Pantomime.  Among these theatres, one can find year round performances at the Ward Theatre (right), the Barn Theater the Little Theatre and the Theater for the Performing Arts on the University of West Indies Campus.

Music is a major section of the art scene in Kingston.  It is the inner cities (Trench Town) that the legendary Bob Marley found reggae music. With songs about tenement yards and social unrest, one can peer into the life of inner city dwellers at that time, as his music was mainly reflective of life in the inner cities of Kingston.  Today, another type of music has been born from the inner cities of Kingston Jamaica; this form of musical art is called Dance Hall.  International stars such as Shabba Ranks and Shaggy got there influence from these places. 


Entertainment is a huge part of every Jamaican’s life, whether it is just hanging out at one of the many bars and drinking the Jamaican Beer Red Stripe, or sipping Jamaican manufactured Appleton rum, or venturing out to the New Kingston strip, where an array of restaurants and clubs may be found.   

Devon HouseThe weekends are a time of social activity, were in the summer there are mega dance parties called sessions that go as long as people are partying – sometimes two days.  There are other recreational activity, where people go the Devon House in Half Way Tree for the famous Devon House (right) ice cream on a Sunday afternoon, or visit the botanical gardens of Hope Pastures.   There are a number of street dances on Fridays and Saturdays, and some areas are bold enough to have dances on Sundays, much to the dismay of the strict religious population.

Sporting activities

The Jamaican football team, 1996Sporting activities are also a main means of entertainment in Kingston.  Neighborhoods include in green space planning some sort of sporting facilities, for instance, football fields or basketball fields.  The Jamaican football team (left) topped the CONCACAF semi-final qualifying round with a 1-0 victory over Mexico at the National stadium in November 16 1996. Other than foot ball, Jamaicans enjoy cricket, track and field, swimming and field hockey as well as other sports.

The population receives employment in manufacturing construction, mining, transportation, storage, communication, real estate insurance financing an service jobs.  These are however, types of formal employment.  One may also find the typical hustlers and vendors with in the urban centers and along commercial strips.  There is a 16.3 unemployed population throughout the total population of Jamaica.  The informal sector is not accounted for in this census, thus a number of these ‘unemployed’ persons may have a means of self-employment.  Though tourism is one of Jamaica’s main industries, it is concentrated to the north and particularly northeastern section of the island, thus this is not one of Kingston’s main functions.