National Physical Development Plan Dominica

National urban policy type
Partial - Territorial Plan
Policy temporality
National Physical Development Plan Dominica

The National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) for the Commonwealth of Dominica ("Dominica") acts together with the National Land Use Policy (NLUP) as the two core documents which fulfill the requirements of the Physical Planning Act. Together the NLUP and NPDP guide planning for land use and development in Dominica.

Validity date

( ! ) This content is available only in the original language.


Formulating Institution

In charge of: Ministry of Planning, Economic Development & Inverstment 
(Ministry Finance, Economic Affairs, Investment, Planning, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Telecommunications and Broadcasting).


Elaborated by Dillon Consulting, in collaboration with Eclipse Inc. and Acacia Consulting and Research.

Elaboration process

NPDP Stakeholder Workshop (November 2015)

In November 2015, Dillon Consulting Limited in collaboration with Eclipse Inc. facilitated a three day workshop to support the development of the NPDP for Dominica.
The goals of the three day workshop were two-fold:
1) To develop a strong framework for the NPDP that reflects local knowledge and is based on inputs from a wide group of internal stakeholders; and,
2) To train Physical Planning staff so that they will have the capacity to complete future national and local area land use plans without the need for outside consultants.

(Public and Stakeholder Consultations, pg. xxiv)

Executive Body

The NPDP is to be implemented through collaboration among Government agencies and in conjunction with other sector policies and plans, strategic approaches, cooperation and coordination with private landowners and the public, as well as public education.


Main challenge

Key Issues Related to Physical Land Use & Infrastructure
- The quantity, quality, and adequacy of housing to meet demand remain a challenge.
- Renewal and rehabilitation is needed for the country’s road network.
- Dominica’s terrain is particularly difficult and expensive from a road construction
standpoint — earth cutting, retaining walls and bridges are very costly.
- The Government faces a challenge of maintaining an extensive road network – including
feeder roads, village roads, internal community roads, and street lights – serving a
relatively low density of population.
- The small population size and topography make it difficult to locate and extend services.
- Portsmouth is reaching environmental carrying capacity and needs a centralised
collection and treatment system for sewerage.
- The Roseau landfill needs an imminent expansion. New solid waste sites may be
required elsewhere on the island to appropriately manage solid waste and minimise illegal dumping.

(Existing Physical Land Use & Infrastructure Conditions and Issues, pg. xviii)

Urban focus

Urban instrument

National Land Use Policy (NLUP) 2014

Urban dimension of policy

Settlement Hierarchy and Focus of Growth
i) In accordance with the NLUP (1.7.1), Dominica’s communities have been organized into a settlement hierarchy, characterized by a combination of national and regional significance and population.
ii) Figure 1: Land Use Plan identifies Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Centres. The communities included in this hierarchy are expected to accommodate the majority of anticipated growth and development over the next 20 years, as shown in Table 5-1.
iii) The development required to support the growth and sustainability of Dominica’s communities shall be focussed in the areas identified within the settlement hierarchy. No new settlements (i.e., villages or towns) should be established separately from one of the Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Centres.

(5.4 Human Settlement, pg. 29)

Main objective of the urban dimension Urban

The National Land Use Policy sets the foundation for all land use decisions and describes how best to manage development to improve quality of life for Dominicans, through economic and social development, protecting human health and safety, and conserving the natural environment.

(Part I: The Challenge, pg. 1)

strategic objectives

1.1 Invest in infrastructure in recognition that physical infrastructure is critical for sustained economic development, and social well-being.
1.7 Social and economic development through well-planned human settlements.
1.8 Recognise the influence that the distinct culture and heritage of Dominica has had on its built form.
1.9 Support good quality housing for all.
1.11 Manage land use conflict and risk.

(Part V: Lad Use Policies -1.0 Investment and Social & Economic Development, pg. 8-16)

Implementation tool

Operating instruments

The NPDP will serve as the primary implementation tool of the policies and direction outlined in the NLUP. 

Action against climate change


In terms of mitigation: protecting and enhancing the natural environment protects carbon sinks, and encouraging efficient land use planning and the use of renewable energies can reduce the carbon footprint of the community.

(4.2 Concept Two: Mainstreaming Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, pg. 9)


In terms of adaptation: directing development away from areas at risk from natural hazards and low-lying coastal areas, encouraging decentralized infrastructure, and protecting existing agricultural lands will increase resiliency to the expected impacts of climate change.

(4.2 Concept Two: Mainstreaming Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, pg. 10)

Local Area Plans should identify the impacts/potential impacts of climate change and identify adaptation measures which:

- Maintain the ecological integrity of the biophysical environment including protected areas, watersheds, river valleys and the coastal zone;
- Maintain the integrity of the cultural landscape including traditional economic activities such as agriculture and fishing;
- Allocate and safeguard suitable lands for residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural, tourism and recreational development;
- Identify adaptation and mitigation measures to improve the integrity and of rivers including buffer/transition zones;
- Identify lands that are unsuitable for development due to high susceptibility to natural hazards and climatic events;
- Ensure the efficient location and use of existing and proposed new systems for water supply, sewage and solid waste disposal;
-  Ensure the efficient location of existing infrastructure and proposed new infrastructure and drainage systems to withstand major climatic events;
-  Identify opportunities for investments in renewable energy such as wind farms, solar energy, or wave energy; and,
-  Adopt an approach which integrates relevant existing scientific climate change data and adaptation processes with local ecological knowledge, in order to develop new tools that incorporate climate change concerns in community planning.

(5.4 Human Settlement, pg. 32) 


Resilient to Natural Hazards and Climate Change

i) In accordance with the NLUP (3.2.1.) new infrastructure should be located and designed to be resilient to natural hazards and/or disturbance tolerant.
ii) Infrastructure can support mitigation and adaptation to climate change and should be planned and designed taking climate change into account. For example, road design may need to be updated to accommodate heavier rainfall, and rainwater capture systems should be considered to improve drought resiliency.

(5.6 Infrastructure, pg. 37)


Main goal

This vision calls for well managed settlements, agricultural lands, rivers, forests, coastal zones, and biodiversity.
Part V of the NLUP establishes land use policies around three core areas:
- Investment, and Social and Economic Development;
- Enhanced Forest, Natural Environment, and Agricultural Vitality; and,
- Increasing Resilience to Climate Change.

Based on assets and values identified through public and stakeholder consultation, the NPDP has an additional focus on environmental protection and tourism. Environmental protection is identified as a key value of the people of Dominica. Tourism is identified as a key opportunity to increase economic development.

(Part 2.0: Vision for Land Use and Physical Development, pg. 3)

Strategic objectives

In 2035...
... Dominica will have retained forest cover over 65% of the land mass including protected National Parks and Forest Reserves and privately owned forests as a way to protect biodiversity, prevent erosion, mitigate climate change, and provide opportunities to earn a sustainable livelihood without destructive activities;
... Dominica will be an internationally recognized sustainable tourism destination renowned for its pristine natural environment, environmental features, and high-quality tourism facilities;
... Dominica will continually build resilience to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards, with development and infrastructure located in the safest areas and designed and constructed based on best practices, and with a comprehensive emergency preparedness system in place including emergency shelters, evacuation routes and evacuation jetties;
... Dominica’s settlement areas will be in the safest possible locations, connected to the interior, and made up of well-organized residential neighbourhoods with parks and open space, and community facilitates. Commercial and industrial areas will be located in practical and convenient locations that minimize land use conflicts and will be aesthetically pleasing;
... Dominica will have strong agricultural areas that produce healthy food for the residents of Dominica and high-value exports using sustainable practices; and,
... Dominica will be enforcing planning legislation and monitoring progress towards this vision.

(Part 2.0: Vision for Land Use and Physical Development, pg. 4)

Monitoring and tracking

Representative sample of Cities

Primary Centers: Greater Roseau (Goodwill/Pottersville - New Town - Fond Cole), Portsmouth, Marigot.

Secondary Centers: Warner/Mahaut and Massacre/Canefield.


Tertiary Centers: Salisbury/Grand Savanne, Grand Bay/Berekua, La Plaine, and, Castle Bruce.