Belize City Council is leading the way to developing a smarter city with the help of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). Their Urban Sustainability and Smart City Project has been improving sustainable urban development, laying the groundwork for future projects despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Transforming public spaces

The project focused on public spaces as they are key to community health and well-being. Two neighborhood playgrounds, Armadillo Park and Collet Community Park, were renovated based on extensive community input. This approach created ownership and ensured the spaces met local needs.

The project went beyond physical upgrades and developed a Public Space Policy Framework, the first of its kind for Belize City, guiding long-term development and management of public areas. This initiative helps ensure all residents have access to safe and inclusive green spaces, in line with SDG 11.

Data-driven decision making

Recognizing the importance of evidence-based governance, the project invested in a functional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, to collect and better manage data on land use, public services and socio-economic factors. Such data-driven approach is key to addressing complex urban issues and optimizing resource allocation.

Armadillo Park after rehabilitation. Credit: Belize City Council

Armadillo Park. Credit: Belize City Council

Collet Community Park at the beginning of the rehabilitation. Credit: Belize City Council

Affordable housing

The project addressed the issue of affordable housing by developing a new rent stabilization policy and property tax matrix. These measures will expand housing options that are more affordable for Belize City residents.

Community impact

The project has fostered community cohesion through inclusive park renovations. By actively involving residents in both the renovation and ongoing maintenance, the project has nurtured a sense of ownership which is key to the long-term sustainability of public spaces.

Inspiring others

The Belize City Urban Sustainability and Smart City Project serves as a beacon for municipalities across Belize and the Caribbean. It showcases the transformative potential of prioritizing community engagement, data-driven planning, and social well-being in urban development initiatives.

The Belize City Council plans to build on these successes and partnerships to further improve public spaces and sustainable urban development. Continued partnerships with organizations like CLGF will be pivotal in achieving these goals.