“Imagining Kingston”

This is an interesting “long read” in today’s Guardian newspaper. (Jamaica gets a mention). It talks about branding countries. This week also marks the kick-off of a conference at the University of the West Indies about “Imagining Kingston: A Conference on Regenerating the City”. It is a similar topic- branding and gaining a foothold on the international stage.

From the Conference’s web site:

We have in Kingston old quarters, a geography of dereliction, social discomfort and crime that rank this city in the top thirty in the world with respect to murder. But this city is a global cultural icon, the birth place of Ska, Rock Steady, Reggae, Dub, Nyabinghi and Dancehall. It became a global centre for sonic/lyrical design and is designated a creative music city by UNESCO. It contains the aesthetic, imaginative and experiential seeds of possibility. This Kingston town is waiting to be the catalyst for a fundamental expansion of tourism in Jamaica. Kingston is beckoning us to imagine tourism differently to reflect the creative and cultural ethos it birthed and changed the sonic/lyrical landscape of the world forever. Imagine Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean, a centre of innovation, creativity, design, arts, culture and attendant services.

I have always been interested in branding, economic development of cities and what people refer to as “world class cities”. Some are a given, like Paris, London, New York and Tokyo. Some are on their way, and some continue to clamber. In any case, it is a discussion with a lot of potential for ideas, as is Kingston as an international destination.

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