UBC Theses and Dissertations
Facing the future: the function of planning in the Cayman Islands Ebanks, Carson K.
The Cayman Islands, since 1935 have, in one form or another, had planning laws on its legislative roster. Over time there have been modifications to these planning initiatives. During the course of modification varying degrees of conflict have occurred. Usually it has been expressed as political dissatisfaction. Despite this there has been an implicit recognition that planning is a necessary and therefore enduring activity. The degree and kind of planning that is both culturally acceptable and contextually appropriate has yet to be fully articulated. Impediments to this articulation are multifaceted and include: legislated procedures for public debate on the planning function, the cultural context where land ownership (and therefore use) is perceived as a basic right, previous attempts at rational comprehensive planning that were both substantively and procedurally inappropriate, a general confusion between development control and land use planning, an historical confusion between capital works programmes and development planning. As a result, a national vision of what the islands should aspire to in a spatial or land use context has failed to emerge. Additionally, an appropriate method of planning as a process remains largely undeveloped. Incrementalism has come to be accepted as the preferred form of planning. Its flexibility is its most admirable quality, but one which also prevents it from articulating a long term strategy. Incrementalism and a subjective method of proposing planning initiatives have led to instances where either the results of the plans are at odds with their intentions, or the initiatives have failed to be accepted. Public participation in the planning process is a means through which consensus on an appropriate spatial form can be expressed. In keeping with an incremental approach electoral districts should, through political means, determine the most appropriate methods of public input. A growing awareness of planning and expanded functions of the planning department, an increasing sophistication of the island society and an increased awareness of ecological processes in business circles offer reasons for optimism on the future of planning in the Cayman Islands context. A collaborative planning approach is best suited to determine an appropriate planning function, through correct timing, clear problem identification, and an articulation of the community’s collective aspirations.