Managing development in the hillsides of Trinidad and Tobago using geoinformatics

Serwan MJ Baban, Southern Cross University
Deborah Thomas
Francis Canisius, The University of the West Indies
Kamal J. Sant, The University of the West Indies

Document Type Article


An increase in the unmanaged development of hillsides is causing environmental, social and economic problems in Trinidad and Tobago. Improved environmental awareness and deepening environmental concerns in recent years have focused attention on the need to move towards a more sustainable pattern of development. Scientific criteria for managing hillside development do not seem to exist and attempts in this regard are seriously compromised amongst other things by the lack of effective and reliable information base for decision making, i.e. informationpoverty. This paper advances a geoinformatics based methodology for determining suitability for built development on hillsides and to develop and implement a simple scientific criterion strategy for managing hillside development in Trinidad and Tobago whilst enduring information poverty. Additionally, a case study is presented to highlight the applicability of the concept to Tobago. The results showed all potential areas suitable for hillside development in Tobago and also identified areas not suitable and the reason(s) for disqualifying these areas. The proposed approach is adaptable, scientifically justifiable and open to scrutiny, and will lend itself to public acceptance. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.