The country’s population growth has reportedly slowed over the years, yet it is one of the fastest in the world at 1.72 percent.
Zooming in, the population of urban areas in the Philippines has grown faster compared to rural areas, primarily due to internal migration caused by economic development in urban centers.
The World Bank “Philippines Urbanization Review” stated: “The Philippines is at a critical time in its urbanization process with the number of people living in cities expected to increase by approximately 20 million over the next 20 years. By 2050, it is estimated that close to 102 million Filipinos will live in cities, roughly double that number today. ”
While massive urbanization is taking place, however, our country is no longer expanding – causing us to explore ways to maximize its potential while protecting everything that inhabits it. We must identify, delimit, structure and function to and protect our precious space to ensure the safety of those living in both urban and rural areas.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) thus adopts what we call “Creating Space” as one of our banner programs under the recently approved National Plan for Housing and Urban Development in 2040 in 2040. Through this, we aim to provide a large and macro perspective for spatial and sectoral development using our experts and stakeholders.
Under Creating Spaces, we have identified five vital programs-Metropolitan Development Program, Bioregional Development Program, Transit-Oriented Development Program, Land Supply Build-Up Program and National Open, Public and Green Space Network Program. These embody our commitment to dealing with the impact of population growth and human activities on ecosystems. We must manage growth while developing our actions in a sustainable way.
In line with the Philippine Development Plan, we are supporting the path of the current and planned metropolitan areas for development. DHSUD will expand the guidance in incorporating strategies that promote connections between key cities and municipalities.
Of course, we must also build on ecosystems or pursue an edge-to-edge planning approach in drawing up the local authorities’ comprehensive land use plan. We will explore innovative ways that set prizes at natural limits, e.g. Water areas, to ensure the adaptation of urban development to environmental management and ecosystem-based progress.
The department also sees opportunities in the development of public transport not only in promoting economic activities, but also in improving the environmental quality and social aspects. Therefore, we will integrate transit-oriented development as an inherent component of urban planning.
Given the lack of land, we need a multi-stranded program to unlock, recover, and allocate land for settlements. This requires massive inventory of existing but unused or underutilized public properties and takes similar measures to use them effectively. If necessary, the acquisition of land for conversion is also on the list.
We have previously developed the CLUP Guidebook, which proved useful in defining open areas for local planning. Based on the concept of open space used only as forest, buffer / green belts, parks, playgrounds and other similar applications, we will work to sustainably develop open areas, especially in metropolitan areas and highly urbanized cities.
Judicial land use
As with any other journey, the establishment of sustainable housing in well-planned locations must start somewhere. For our vision, it is a great challenge to create more spaces from what is already in place, but the healthiest way to speed up.
Through NHUDSP, we have illustrated a complete path to lead us to better, greener and smarter human settlements and urban systems, but we need places that make them a reality. Thus, history begins by taking advantage of spatial trends and incorporating this into land use planning to ensure socio-economic benefits across urban-rural continuum.
We are now calibrating our development engines. We rethink and restructure our processes for the design of human settlements. With our programs in place, I am confident that we are off to a relatively better start.
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