History of TTSP

Urban and Regional Planning has been practised in Trinidad and Tobago from the Colonial days. The implementers of what was comprehensive planning of settlements, were the Governor and the central administration, the town councils, the energy and agricultural sectors. Examples of this structured planning include, the layout of early Port of Spain, by Governors such as Chacon and Woodford, following the Spanish style of town development with its squares, and grid layout of the streets.

The early residential settlements of Morvant, Gonzales, St. James, Mon Repos and Techier Village to name a few, were examples of this overall town planning that included allocations for economic, residential, community and recreational activity. However, informal settlements of essentially housing developments, were also emerging and the dichotomy of planned and unplanned existing side by side, persists to this day.

Internal self-government in 1956 followed by Independence in 1962, saw the beginning of a local determination over the use and development of resources. The control over land, residential and agricultural development, was administered by separate legislative instruments none of which dealt with planning in a comprehensive manner. However it was only after the approval of the Town and Country Planning Act in 1960, which became operational in 1969, that there was a functional linkage within the public sector between the preparation of development plans and the control of development in accordance with the plans.

This bill initially received much support from the Government at the time and after a great deal of effort, the Town and Country Planning Division was established bringing to the fore the Public Sector Planner. For most of the seventies and eighties, the majority of the planners in the country were employed in the Division. At that time, physical planning was very closely associated with economic planning and the planners were heavily involved with budgeting and the Five Year Economic Development Plans. The public sector planners recognised a need to form an association to advance the profession and differentiate the approach of a physical planner from that of its colleagues in the economic fields. In 1975, the association was able to become an Incorporated Body entitled the Trinidad and Tobago Society of Planners (TTSP).