The Urban Development Corporation was created by the Jamaican Government in 1968 through a Special Act of Parliament to ensure that planned and orderly development takes place when and where it is needed in Jamaica, within the framework of national priorities.
The UDC is the principal public sector organisation responsible for planning and designing urban environments in designated areas in Jamaica. It is also the entity charged with preparing, developing and implementing plans for urban development, urban renewal and rural modernization, in collaboration with other agencies.
The mission of the UDC is to improve the quality of life for citizens in designated areas through the planning and implementation of development projects including physical, secondary and social infrastructure and the delivery of quality service to clients.
One of the many problems facing newly independent Jamaica in the 1960’s was the increasing trend towards overpopulation in the urban centres. Because capital investment in mining, manufacturing and tourism was concentrated in these areas, there was a drift of the rural population to the cities and towns in search of employment and an improved quality of life.
Major projects over the years have included those in the designated areas:
Falmouth (special project area)
The Corporation has also completed numerous Agency projects including those under:
The Comprehensive Rural Township Development Programme (CRTDP)
San Jose Accord for Sports and Culture
Health Services Rationalisation Programme (HSRP)
Schools Building Programme
Police Station Upgrading Programme
The Lift Up Jamaica Programme
The Inner City Renewal Programme
Northwestern Schools Programme
In addition, the UDC manages the Tax Incentive Programme (TIP) for Urban Renewal on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. The programme aims to stimulate urban renewal by revitalizing historic centres and providing opportunities for private capital stakeholders to participate in the re-development of blighted areas.
It was at this stage, that the Government decided that the problems of urban growth could be ameliorated by creating new and viable urban centres in rural areas to ease the pressure from the existing ones. This would be accompanied by improvement in the urban fabric of metropolitan regions.
Herein was seen the need for a developer in the public interest, which would combine the authority and resources of Government, with the expertise and dynamism of the private sector, supported by appropriate legislative powers. Thus the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) came into being in March 1968.
Since 1968, the UDC has effectively transformed Jamaica's most viable urban centres and strategic rural towns, whilst preserving the natural environment, traditions and customs and spurring economic development. The organization, through its development programmes, has significantly improved the coverage and quality of public infrastructure, in addition to introducing alternative patterns of urban settlement, including creative shelter solutions and the development of new townships.