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This document is intended to help restore a sustainable conservation and settlement tradition on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. Its fundamental purpose is to serve the people of Abaco as a guide for future deliberations and decisions that affect the way people build and live. It is a broad proposal that advocates the building of civil communities, the pursuit of economically and environmentally sustainable development practices, and the building and preservation of places that are useful, beautiful and meaningful.

Planning Abaco was prepared to be a useful document with realistic ambitions, despite the fact that its tone is set by high ideals. It includes many illustrations that may appear at first glance to be impossible in the face of current conditions. Its broad scope and detailed proposals may challenge even the boldest visionary. However, after carefully studying this document in its entirety, the reader is encouraged to consider its true significance to the future of the Abaco community. Without such a strategy, will Abaco be able to continue to grow economically and not destroy the environmental and cultural assets that are the backbone of its economy and identity? Will it be able to harness future growth towards something sustainable, something profitable, something beautiful, something good? In keeping with centuries of Bahamian traditions and the best practices of the New Urbanism, this document suggests that settlementmaking in the 21st century can be an enterprise of building communities, landscapes and places worth loving. Great Abaco Island is in the unique position to lead the nation in an effort to do just this. This document builds on previous and current planning and conservation efforts and is intended to be a useful guide for future development on Abaco. In particular, this proposal draws from recent efforts by the Sandy Point community, Friends of the Environment, the Bahamas National Trust, and various independent citizens, researchers, developers, businesses and patrons of Bahamian culture. However, the proposals and assessments presented here are only a first small step in a much larger effort of cultivating places. Leaders in politics, business, conservation, and town planning professionals with a proven record of successful placemaking will need to build upon this work to advance its vision. Planning Abaco includes both, visionary illustrations which depict a possible future, as well as tools for the mechanisms of contemporary planning culture. It is essential for the reader to understand the difference: the pictures provide the vision, the diagrams provide tools for understanding, and the code provides a mechanism for implementation.

This proposal asks citizens, government officials, conservationists, business owners and developers to work together towards something that can be truly fruitful to all. It is for them that this document has been prepared.

Publication Date



Andrews University School of Architecture


Berrien Springs, MI


Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Planning Abaco: A Proposal to Restroe a Sustainable Tradition on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas