PGAA Creative Design Principal, Landscape Architect Paulo Alcazaren highlighted the importance of good urban design and multi-stakeholder participation in redeveloping our spaces during SGCT Module 7.

With the topic Value Creation in Public Spaces and Environment Protection, PGAA Creative Design Principal, Landscape Architect Paulo Alcazaren highlighted the importance of good urban design and multi-stakeholder participation in redeveloping our spaces during SGCT Module 7, held last November 18.

Mr. Alcazaren elaborated during the session the need to recover open spaces for relief, refuge, and environmental protection and to build infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation, pedestrian systems, and NMT in order to prepare for denser cities, future pandemics, and potential disasters. 

With our situation, that 6 out 10 Filipinos are urban, we need a law requiring all towns and cities build parks in proportion to their urbanized areas, so no citizen is more than 15 minute walk from a park. This is also to achieve the goal to provide a minimum of 5 sqm PPOS/person, like in Singapore and New York City wherein people have access to a park in 10-15 minute walk from their home.

ARCH. PAULO ALCAZAREN

Arch. Alcazaren also presented the current situation of the Philippines sidewalks which have been occupied by cars, vendors, etc. It is a realization that we start and end our commutes by walking, yet we invest very little in infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles. 

The current Philippine National Government’s Build, Build, Build program for infrastructure has little allocation for sidewalks, Non-Motorized Transport, mobility, parks, and open space, since priority of this program are big-ticket projects such as highways, bridges, ports, airports, subways, etc.

ARCH. PAULO ALCAZAREN

He showed during the session some case studies of their work with other urban planners that could actually be done for pedestrian and Non-Motorized Transport. Presenting the Makati City CBD pedestrianization and open space improvement from car-oriented development and low buildings to making villages for residential into commercial establishments. Giving priority to pedestrians and sidewalks that also makes essential in providing  more open spaces. The other one is the BGC Greenway Project in Taguig – a project planning to connect Buendia to the central business district, since thousands of people are coming from Buendia LRT but there was no allocation and accommodation for pedestrians. He also presented the improvement on open space, NMT, and pedestrianization of Ortigas CBD in Pasig. Improvements were basically the same with Makati CBD. However, the problem with Pasig is even worse than Makati because on sidewalks you need to walk sideways to be able to get in MRT. Arch. Alcarzen brought up their study together with the group of other planners and transports, and engineers about nine years ago. 

We found out that it took between 30 and 40 minutes from Guadalupe to get to their offices which is just 200 meters away. With that, we designed a project connecting Ortigas MRT to the center of CBD. There will also be a hub for bikers providing shower rooms for them.

ARCH. PAULO ALCAZAREN

Along with that, he also presented the improvement on Pasig CBD urban design and its civic center and parks wherein they proposed to connect Pasig City Plaza into the Pasig City Museum, to make the area friendly for pedestrians. They also designed the 2000 sqm Pasig City Hall Green roof which has a view deck where you can overlook the side of Pasig. Apart from Pasig City improvement, he shared the development of Roxas Boulevard in Manila, the Baywalk and CCP Esplanade in particular. They made the Baywalk restoration which is plants planted are not only for aesthetic but it actually helps to absorb the energy of the storms surges. Lastly, he presented the popular project they got involved with; the Iloilo Civic Space and River Esplanade redevelopment that make Iloilo a bike network in the country.

Arch. Alcazaren ended the session by reminding the participants that urban planning design should be for people not for cars, should be for environment not for show.

When you build a city, you need to think of everyone, not just the people with cars but also those who walk.

ARCH. PAULO ALCAZAREN

He also reiterated that that we need a law requiring all LGUs to conserve their Spanish and American era plazas as cultural heritage and disallowing the construction of any more structures that would compromise their ‘openness, ‘ which is a requisite also for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management and Mitigation.

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