What is the NSDS?

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The National Spatial Development Strategy or NSDS is the overarching framework that will spatially represent the socio-cultural, economic and environmental development priorities for Trinidad and Tobago. Its strategies and policies articulate the Government’s vision of sustainable development.

Critically, the document builds on the 1984 National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) and is an attempt to renew the relevance of ‘planning’ to a generation.

In essence, it aims to sketch broadly the where and how of development in the country over the next 20 years.

The process has emerged out of a need for direction and clarity in coordinating development in the country and prioritising and rationalising land dependent decisions. It is intended that this document will provide authoritative guidance and more specifically:

What will the NSDS achieve?


Over the last three decades, the built environment in Trinidad and Tobago has changed dramatically. A new, forward-looking planning strategy is thus required to meet the contemporary challenges that new development brings. More specifically, the NSDS will give clear direction toward holistically resolving the following national issues in an integrated way:  

The NSDS in context


The preparation of an NSDS is being initiated within the context of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s (GORTT) commitment to guide development by setting national economic, environmental and social priorities as highlighted in the Medium Term Framework, its 7 Development Pillars and other strategic policy pronouncements.

The NSDS is in accordance with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning Act 1969 (Chapter 35:01) however, crucially, it is also being crafted to meet the emerging requirements of the Planning and Facilitation of Development Bill (PAFD) which is also currently before Parliament.

Once enacted, the PAFD Bill will introduce some significant changes to the way Trinidad and Tobago’s planning system works, by moving planning powers closer to the people they serve through a devolution of development control and local area plan making functions to the Municipal Corporations.


The following documents describe the process of preparing the NSDS, the methodologies used, alternatives strategies that were considered, etc. A large amount of factual information was gathered and analysed during the preparation of this Strategy, providing an evidence base to inform its Vision, Objectives and Policies.

Comprehensive Economic Development Plan (CEDP), 2013-2017

The goal of the CEDP 2.0 is to transform and diversify the Tobago economy such that it is better able to adjust to rapid changes in the national and international economies by producing products and services in which it can retain a competitive edge.