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Jun 19, 2013

Kids build virtual cities

It’s no secret that our country began as an settlement for buccaneers. There was little planning but eventually the colony of British Honduras rose to become Belize. And if you look at the twists and turns of Belize City and the drainage problems that have exacerbated over the years, you would know that planned environments are key to development. Perhaps that is why one local company is inspiring youths to use technology to plan and to build virtual cities. News Five Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It was a great display of ingenuity and the savvy use of technologically advanced techniques at the Prince Room of the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City. It was the presentations of ten groups of primary and high schools students in the second annual My Virtual City Competition. And after a series of discussions and meetings with the group, the students set out to create their projects. Their task was to creatively transform a town, city, or a specific area within the country satisfying the millennium development goals.


Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

Loretta Palacio

“This year we are challenging the students, standard four through to fourth form, to redesign a current municipality. Choose one of the nine municipalities in the country, look at the issues being faced and propose solutions using GIS technology and 3D technology as well…also looking at the millennium development goals; we are looking at development standards. So it is more than technology; it is also about creating awareness of development standards for our country and globally.  First there is a narrative that just briefly state which city they are redesigning and what they are going to do. The part two is an essay which is the entire plan of their city. And then there is the technology side, the most challenging side. They had to use Art GIS, which is a tool used by many companies in Belize to get work done using GIS tools.”


The process started from GIS Day Expo in November 2012 and from twenty teams, it was whittled down in February to ten who came out and designed via technology that is being used to develop nations. The students proved that they are potential engineers and developers.


Enrique Ayuso

Enrique Ayuso, Sanctuary City, St. John’s College

“The area, why did we chose this? Well we think Belama Phase Four located near the outskirts of Belize City is a perfect summarization of entire Belize City consisting of unemployment, all the poverty levels…that’s why we chose that we could develop that area so that in the future, we could change the lives of these people for the better.”


Supernova, Asgard City, St. Catherine Academy

“Asgard is actually a city in mythology. It is a city where the god’s live and it is also peaceful and known for its esthetic beauty.”


Duane Moody


“Tell us about those visiting Asgard. What is the experience that they are going to be taking away by going there?”



“Well the experience would be wow! We want to give them that wow factor because they are going to go and see the different sites and buildings that we created and for the incoming people, we are going to show them the commercial zones, the tourism zone and stuff like that.”


The primary schools that participated showed that the imagination, influenced by their personal experiences and dreams can also be channeled into futuristic plans suitable for sustainable development in the Jewel.


Yash Pagarani

Yash Pagarani, Serene City, Belize Elementary School

“We wanted a peaceful city and to have a very developed city while ending poverty at the same time for South Side Belize. So we decided to have it very developed, new, very quiet, peaceful; that’s what we are trying to change. Well in south side, the main thing we did…we took out the gangs. The first thing we did, we took out poverty, crime, we had police stations, patrols everywhere…we had more buildings, a mall, restaurants…you know, more infrastructural developments.”


Zoe Tillett, Peace City, Horizon Academy

Zoe Tillett

“Bringing peace through pride because our peace city is about…we chose the south side because the south side Belizeans need to go to the North side to get some stuff right. So we redesigned some stuff in peace city and it became much better. They don’t have to pay electricity so we use a biogas plant to do it. So they will have more money to save for their children’s education.”


Duane Moody

“So tackling your MDGs dealing with poverty and crime, etc.”


Zoey Tillett

“And like for example, the people on the street…some of them have talents and some of them are really good with singing, dancing, art, drawing or anything. They can go to our talent boulevard that we created there and they can become superstars and anything so you won’t find people on the street just lying around.”


It is a collaborative effort with UNDP and the Ministry of Education.  The Managing Director for Total Business Solution Limited, Loretta Palacio says as the competition has advanced, so have the prizes.


Loretta Palacio

“The prizes range first place laptops, second place I-Pads and then third place we have cell phones. I have to say as well…plug in to our sponsors Belize bank Ministry of Education, B.T.L. and Smart who have been very supportive of this event for us to be able to give these prizes.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


In the primary school section: first place went to Horizon Academy’s Dream City while Belize Elementary School took both second and third prizes for Jakiro and Serene Cities respectively. For the high school section: Saint Catherine Academy’s Asgard City topped the competition with Edward P. Yorke’s Goldson City and Saint John’s College Sanctuary City taking second and third places. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Kids build virtual cities”

  1. sickntired says:

    Wow this is very good. We people got talent and imagination and if we encourage them and train them belize will make progress. Glad to see we sistren palacio keeping outta trouble and doing good with the kids.

  2. Initiate says:

    Yeah, looks like lots of creativity and strategy for young minds. How can Palacio manage and direct all of this out of central prison?? impressive I guess technology now-a-days defies the confines of physical prison.

  3. Carlos says:

    I mi think Loretta Palacio deh da jail for evading tax……………lamo

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