Renowned architect and urban planner, Palafox reveals Philippines’ looks by 2050

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A well-known Filipino architect and urban planner revealed what the Philippines could be like in 2050 if it continues on its current path, while also emphasizing the need for the country to have more cities.

Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. stated at the Asia Real Estate Forum on Thursday that the country requires 100 new cities by 2050.

According to Palafox, “in 2050, the Philippines’ population is projected to rise to 148 million, and we would need to plan now and develop 100 new cities by then. Otherwise, our existing cities will be as congested as Metro Manila.”

Growth will inevitably continue to surge in our cities, which is why we should strongly support the creation of growth centers outside of Metro Manila,” he further explained.

He outlined what is required to build these future cities – architecture, planning, urban design, real estate, and infrastructure “well into the New World Order.”

Palafox cited cities around the world that have adopted best practices in urban planning and architecture. He based it on the following characteristics: green, smart, urban mobility, resilience, and livability.

In Asia, he cited Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, Osaka, and Tokyo as having met the aforementioned criteria, and he suggested that the Philippines follow their lead.

Palafox bemoaned the Philippines’ poor urban planning, particularly in Metro Manila. Aside from the traffic, he claimed that the metropolis was modeled after postwar Los Angeles, which was built primarily for automobiles rather than pedestrians.

More mixed-use developments, such as Rockwell in Makati City, are one example of how this can be accomplished. The beauty of such projects is that they encourage people to walk rather than drive, maximize land values, encourage infrastructure sharing, and provide an appealing transition between land uses.

A further prospective is the rise of more vertical cities to alleviate congestion, as there is barely enough space to build houses. Condominiums will most likely be the preferred type of housing in cities.

Public transportation, bicycle use, and more pedestrian lanes are strongly encouraged not only to reduce traffic, but also to reduce, if not completely eliminate, pollution. According to Palafox, these should take precedence over private vehicles.

More green and open spaces are also required. Parks, for example, provide an oasis in a city where people can soak up nature without having to travel outside the city.

He mentioned his involvement in Dubai’s development. It evolved from a small cluster of settlements in the 1970s to an ultra-modern city and commercial hub today. If Dubai can be transformed, the Philippines can as well.

Palafox concluded his presentation with “Postcards from the Future,” which depicted what certain locations in the Philippines would look like if his master plan is carried out. These images depict cities such as Manila, Davao, Iloilo, and even Boracay as green, smart, mobile, resilient, and livable.

This article is originally published by The Manila Times. Minor edits were made. 
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