More compact communities seen improving sustainability of PHL cities

SMDC

A MOVE TO more compact and integrated communities is expected to improve the sustainability of Philippine cities by limiting the distances residents need to travel for work and leisure, an expert panel said.

United Nations-Habitat Country Programme Manager Christopher E. Rollo said at a virtual property forum organized by the Philippine Star, “Compact cities and communities maximize the use of urban land and promote economies of scale and efficient services.”

“An integrated community should link with the rest of the city in terms of mobility options, communication, markets, and services. And so integration should be [in] the physical, social, economic, and environmental spheres,” Mr. Rollo said.

“[It’s] not just building houses, but building the capacities of people to build their own communities, to strengthen the social cohesion within them,” he added.

Other members of the panel at the Philstar event, “Building Integrated Communities for a Sustainable Future,” said compactness was a valid goal for quality of life reasons.

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SM Development Corp. (SMDC) President Jose Mari Banzon said a so-called “15-minute city,” in which all the population’s needs can be serviced by establishments at most 15 minutes away, is a target to shoot for.

A community “should allow people to have everything they want, everything they want and they need within a few minutes away, or just by walking outside. And it should have a nice living experience… with all the amenities,” Mr. Banzon said.

A third panelist, Leechiu Property Consultants, Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Leechiu, said how regulators shape the development of communities is key.

“We have many laws in the Philippines that cover every aspect of humanity and the way we should take care of citizens, but where we fail constantly is implementation,” Mr. Leechiu said.

“All the policies are there, we just have to bloody execute it properly but because of the lack of controls, or I should say the hyper-regulations… Everyone is watching so many people, but at the end of the day, we just end up conniving to game the system,” he added. — Kaycee G. Valmonte

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