Just brilliant! I got an invitation from the organizers to share some learnings and insights on Philippine city futures at the first Quezon City International Conference organized by the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration (UP-NCPAG) and the Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRGC) last month. The convention themed “Future Perfect: Cities at the Forefront of Change and Development” explored the immediate and long-term livability of Philippine cities with climate change impacts, urbanization, global integration, the emergence of new technologies and inter–metro-local cooperation as critical drivers of change. In celebration of the Quezon City’s 75th founding anniversary, the conference showcased innovative approaches and reforms to city administration, governance and development. I also attended the pre-conference seminar-workshop on livability facilitated by Mr. Benjamin De La Pena, Director for Community and National Strategy, Knight Foundation.
Keynoted by Mayor Herbert Bautista, the city chief executive, emphasized some of the major critical challenges influencing and impacting Quezon city’s livability and resiliency: disaster risk reduction, urban population and migration, urban mobility, overcrowding, public health and open spaces, peace and order, slums, and the ASEAN integration. Quezon city is currently the largest most populous city in the Philippines. Quezon city is the nation’s capital.
The conference also showcased the experiences and lessons learned by cities in the Asia-Pacific and shared how they imagine their futures for the next decades.
Along these three main strands, panels and plenary sessions were held to solicit insights and inputs to improve the host city’s future perfect strategies and approaches:
Climate Change and Urban Resiliency
Sectoral implications and impacts of climate change
Climate change and vulnerable groups
Climate change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction
Climate risk governance
Growing Cities at the Human Scale: Liveability in Cities of Rapid Growth
Urban mobility and transportation systems (e.g. BRT, pedestrian and bicycle friendly cities, interconnectedness of transport)
Green cities and green urbanism
Inclusiveness and cities without slums
Peace, order and security
Interlocal Cooperation and Metropolitanization
Twinning and city-to-city cooperation
Metropolitan and transboundary issues (traffic, pollution, flooding, etc.)
ASEAN integration and competitiveness
Some takeways and insights
# make cities walkable by linking networks and destinations, ensure accessibility and re-design surfaces;
# increase investments for micro-climate management by increasing tree giving sun shades, reduce urban heat temperatures, minimize pollution, minimize dust, noise and glare
# increase the “feeling” of security via good street lighting, open and lively street spaces and protection from crime and violence day and night
# invest on infrastructures and create mixed and multi-purpose events that encourage physical activity and exercise for all user groups, interaction and social transparency, play and street entertainment, talkscapes or street furnitures, edge effects and attractive zones that stimulate peoples sense of imagination and play
#invest on infrastructures and create events that creates a sense of locality and identity. Contextualize locality investments that informs and drives a sense of climate impact and resiliency awareness and actions.
# Mainstream children, women and the vulnerable sector in resiliency awareness and management
# Integrate out of the box and outliers and not just the worst case scenarios to make city more adaptive and responsive to future shocks like urban terrorism, urban heat and other plausible unknown unknowns
#engage the neighborhood, families and relatives by partnering with them in pre-planning and post-planning disaster scenarios. Question current initiatives. Expand the notion of disaster risk management and response.
Some random photos at the conference: