is comprised of a port, which historically fostered trade and naval wars in the
18th century. This trade
brought traffic and affluence to the city. Port Royal, the previous city of economic vitality, but the earthquake in
1692 sunk two thirds of the city, and killed 2000 people, thus, Spanish town and Kingston rivaled for the economic
functions lost in Port Royal.
export and transshipment are lucrative businesses. Sugar, rum, molasses and
bananas are exported. The port area is a hive of activity and is known for
an area with high smuggling and other illegal activity.
In 1755, after it
was obvious that Kingston far out distanced in commerce and fashion over Spanish
Town, The governor passed an act transferring the government offices to
The number of
earthquakes in Kingston accounts for the lack of historic buildings and for
Jamaica’s strict building codes in the early 20th century. On King Street in Down Town Kingston, however, the first three story
public buildings, were constructed of reinforced concrete and were favored as
radical architecture at that time.
structure of Kingston comprised only of North, West and East Street, and the
sea. Since the city’s origin,
however, it has progressed and consumed surrounding villages and pens (cattle
pens), the Liguanea Plain area, and continues to spread to the foothills of the
Blue Mountain range. This consumed
the areas best agricultural land, like the Hope Pastures Plantation.
The major division
between wealthy and poor in Kingston, is marked by the Torrington Bridge, having
the wealthy living in the uptown areas, which comprise of the Ligueanea
neighborhoods such as Hope pastures, Mona Heights, Barbican and Beverly Hills
and the economically disadvantaged below the bridge living in ghettoes known as
Jungle, Rema and Southside. These
areas have a reputation of being some of the most unsafe areas in the city,
where many Kingstonians infrequently visit – if any at all, and visitors to
the city are strongly advised to remain out of those areas.
In the 1960s, city
expansion was focused on the development of New Kingston. These developments
lead to the neglect of areas in need of restoration in the central business
district. The focus was on the
improvement of commercialization and the New Kingston development claimed most
of the functions of the Kings Street and Harbour Street areas in down town
response to the concern of the deterioration in the down town areas, the
government created the Kingston Waterfront Development Company, to rehabilitate
95 acres along the waterfront. This
redevelopment sought to the building of The Jamaican Conference Center, The
Scotia Bank Center, and buildings for other administrative functions. This replaced other traditional land use, such as the historic Victoria
Market, a place for social gatherings on holidays, for over a century.
The 1980s saw
another redevelopment plan, by the government’s Urban Development Plan, with a
loan from the Inter American Development Bank. The goals were to restore four main market areas south and west of
Parade, and build six additional markets to facilitate vendors (higglers), as
this is a key means of self-employment for many Jamaicans, and as much as almost
J$30 million, may circulate over a weekend through this kind of informal
the 1980s The Kingston Restoration Company was created to develop the down town
and the surrounding inner-city areas. They restored strategic buildings and leased them out for light industry.
the port, there is an industrial section, home to firms such as J. Wray and
Nephew, Desnoes and Geddes and brewers of Red Stripe Beer.
organizations such as the Urban Development Corporation as been actively working
on developing certain sections of Kingston, these projects include Caymanas
Estate Development, Downtown Housing, and the Kingston Coast Road.
face many of the problems associated in Low Income Countries (LICs), however,
action is being taken to combat these problems of congestion, high population
rates and crime to name a few.