Whose land is it anyway? : an analysis of the management and distribution of Crown Land in the Bahamas
Author(s)Smith, Nakeischea Loi
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Xavier de Souza Briggs.
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Like many islands throughout the Caribbean, The Bahamas are now experiencing rapid growth and development in the form of large-scale luxury resorts and second homes. Consistent with a long history going back to the colonial era, these development trends are being driven by external factors - including the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, a scarcity of affordable waterfront land in North America, and shifting travel preferences post-9/11. But major policy decisions, now hotly debated, have also played an important role in shaping these development trends and their impacts. Through an economic development strategy known as the Anchor Projects, the Bahamian Government has tapped foreign demand for prime Bahamian land with the aim of reducing crowding on the capital island-city of Nassau, boosting the economies of the sparsely populated Family Islands, and providing residents of those islands with much-needed employment and infrastructure.(cont.) As a key concession to spur the Anchor Projects, Government has granted large tracts of publicly owned "Crown Land" at favorable prices to developers; but in a nation where natives are tied closely to Crown Land and where there is lack of a comprehensive land use framework that includes environmental management and public participation in development, this policy has triggered significant conflict among Government, developers, and Bahamians. resent Crown Land disposition policies that seem to benefit foreign investors and visitors at great expense to current and future generations of Bahamians; particularly where such policies are seemingly threatening to make housing unaffordable, overwhelm small-island cultures with newcomer needs, privatize cherished community commons, and generate conflicts over labor shortage. Using information gleaned from interviews with key informants, newspapers and journal articles, and data gathered from various Government agencies, this study examines the history of Crown Land management in The Bahamas, as well as the current valuation, pricing, and allocation of this vital public resource.(cont.) The thesis explores the risks in a non-sustainable development model where land tenure, tracking, and planning traditions are either missing or weak. Based on my findings, I offer several major recommendations: Create and implement a National Development and Land Use Plan, improve agency integration, clarify land tenures, implement and legislate programs for environmental protection and management, improve fiscal management of land resources, deepen the democracy, and address issues of sovereignty and changing social structure.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2007.Includes bibliographical references (p. 133-138).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.