Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 4th 2014 Contents Are the seismologists predicting when that might
be?One thing you can say about earthquakes is you
can t predict them except to say we know there s
going to be one at some time. There s also floods
to think about. Around the millennium when I
returned to Trinidad it had been raining for six days.
In Caracas, 20,000 people died because of that rain.
The shacks on the hills and the mud sliding down...
We need to think about rainwater collection too.
We need to think about sustainability not just as
a fashionable word. And here we need to think about
security as a big issue. But we re not the only place
facing these issues so there should be a lot more
sharing of information in the region and in Central
and South America.
The other problem we have is termites. If we
didn t have that we could be building more in ply-
wood. There are advances going on in materials
but, hand-in-hand with community participation,
it has to be quite lo-tech to allow people to construct
Any other future ideas for housing?
One of the things that could be really exciting is
Is a lot of the inner-city space wasted?
The fabric of town I like most is Belmont, Gon-
zales. Yes there are small streets but it feels right
and there is that mix of being able to walk down
to the shops, you don t need a car if you live in Bel-
mont, you can walk around.
Would East PoS be a good test-bed area for a
East PoS would be perfect. There s a complex up
at Beverly Hills (Laventille), I went up there to do
one of these community exchanges where they used
to live in these British-built barracks that had work-
shops or garages on the lower level and people lived
above and they hung their washing out in the middle.
It worked well for quite some time.
Now, it looks like a modern upmarket development
from a distance but when you go inside you realise
it hasn t been thought through in terms of how
people would use the space. Toilets had blowback,
windows faced leftover space for car parking, there
was no natural breeze, nowhere to hang washing
so you need dryers, that s not
And the saddest thing
was in the courtyard
there s a spring which
means a huge amount to
the community, it s
treasured for its historic
social value and it wasn t
integrated in any way.
It was left there but it
wasn t celebrated when it
could have been the heart of
Would East PoS be a good place to do
a pilot scheme?
Absolutely. The Quinta Monroy social
housing (by Elemental in Chile) struck me
as being very similar (to East PoS) and they
didn t present the design like a fait accompli
but talked through the issues so people
understood about making choices. It even
enabled people to see who they were going
to be living next to, so if they had particular
friends they could end up being neighbours
which facilitates a healthier environment.
It also encouraged people to build, not just
wait for the firm to come and do it for them.
It facilitated self-reliance, self-actualisation
and they felt much more engaged with the
product at the end because they helped cre-
ate it. It s just like planting your garden, if
you see things grow you ve put so much
into it you value it more and protect it.
Who designs HDC housing?
Architects can design them but you don t
need to be a architect to put in a planning
application. We (the TTIA) think the built
environment would improve if architects
were designing it.
Earlier you mentioned prefabrication...
For anything on a larger scale, I think
prefabrication makes sense.
Are a lot of building materials import-
ed?No, we have a lot of materials to build.
Aggregates, sand, we make cement. Clay
block factories, concrete block factories. But
we do have to import some things, just like
other countries. In terms of design consid-
erations, we re in a class 3 seismic area
which is the same as Southern California,
which is pretty serious.
So there will eventually be a serious
Yeah. It will be very serious.
Monday, August 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
East PoS a good place for pilot scheme
From Page A34
Architect Jenifer Smith believes in building
sustainable communities and engagement with the
communities before a development is built.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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