• Jamaica;
  • social change;
  • space;
  • urban planning;
  • violence

This article examines the processes underpinning the restructuring of violence in urban Jamaica. Focusing upon the formation of Portmore, a planned community built to provide an alternative to the overcrowded and violent living conditions in west and central Kingston, I analyze planners and residents attempts to disrupt and erase the everyday experience of violence and poverty among working class Jamaicans. Tracing the shift away from politically motivated violence to what residents have termed ‘freelance violence’, I illustrate the socio-spatial dimensions of violence and poverty in urban Jamaica and the changing relationship between state support, political engagement and citizenship.