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The One City Project: A Beacon of Hope for Marginalized Urban Youth

In an era where the divide between the privileged and the marginalized seems to be widening, projects that aim to bridge this gap are not just necessary; they are imperative. The One City Project is one such endeavour that seeks to understand and remove the barriers that prevent marginalized urban youth in Jamaica from participating fully in the socio-political and economic life of their cities. The One City project represents a bold step towards creating more inclusive urban environments. Spearheaded by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) is a project partner on the One City Project along with Slash Roots and Fight for Peace. The project is funded by Fondation Botnar. The project officially kicked off on December 6, 2023, at the ROK Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The launch provided a platform for discussing the project’s objectives, the roles of each project partner, and the broader implications for urban development in Jamaica and beyond.

Unveiling the One City Project

At its core, the One City Project is about amplifying the voices and improving the lives of marginalized urban youth in Jamaica. By focusing on the Kingston Metropolitan Region and Montego Bay—areas known for their high levels of inequality, poverty, and violence—the project aims to explore new pathways for meaningful socio-political and economic participation. Through participatory and mixed-methods research, One City seeks to challenge the status quo and offer insights that could inform similar initiatives in urban areas facing comparable challenges.

Mona GeoInformatics Institute: A Crucial Role

Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI), the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Software Development hub for the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, brings its technical expertise and deep understanding of spatial data to the project. MGI is tasked with developing an interactive GIS dashboard, data provision, data visualisation and infographics. This technology is not just about mapping; it is a powerful means to display the findings of the research, making the invisible visible and the overlooked impossible to ignore. By providing relevant data and developing tools that allow for the exploration of this data, MGI is laying the foundation for evidence-based interventions that can lead to positive change.

Aligning Missions and Tasks

MGI’s involvement in the One City Project is a natural extension of its mission to apply geospatial technologies for societal benefit and to show further how we can solve problems. The institute has a longstanding commitment to leveraging its expertise, resources, and technology to collaboratively address the challenges facing our local and regional communities. By participating in this project, MGI reinforces its commitment to harnessing the power of GIS to address critical social issues. This project serves as a powerful example of how technology can be a force for positive change in tackling urban inequality and empowering marginalized youth.

A Path Forward

The One City Project, with the critical support of MGI and other partners, represents an opportunity to improve the lives of marginalized urban youth in Jamaica. It underscores the power of collaborative research, innovative technology, and community engagement in addressing complex social challenges. As the project unfolds, it aims not only to highlight the obstacles faced by urban youth but also to chart a course towards a more inclusive and equitable urban future.

Find out more about the One City Project by visiting their official Instagram page here.

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