The metropole of Manila, or Metro Manila, is capital of the world’s second-largest archipelago: The Philippines. Metro Manila is one of the world’s most densely populated megacities and lays upon the eastern bank of Manila Bay. 24 million people (or 25% of all Filipinos) call Metro Manila home – which makes it the world’s making fourth-largest city. The Philippines and its capital has witnessed strong economic growth in recent years, however, continued growth comes at a high cost. The lack of supportive infrastructure – and overlapping threats posed by flooding and land subsidence are amplified by climate change – are grinding Manila to a halt. Permanent congestion, inadequate waste services, air pollution, and a shortage in affordable housing is forcing many people to live in slums with poor sanitation and low water quality.

In 2017, we partnered with the Malabon City government and worked with Malabon communities in a structured and participatory process to carry out necessary scoping research, conduct needs assessments, and contribute towards the solution design. With our partner Arcadis, we have worked to translate the Manila local needs assessment into an inclusive business proposition for affordable housing and to source electricity from solar power. By integrating innovations from Manila’s private sector players, like WeGen, Systems Build Inc and Alay Bahay, the business proposition has truly been designed and executed as a PPPP: Public-Private-People-Partnership.

HCC has also become a partner in the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Planning process for the next 30 months. HCC’s participation is led by our partner Deltares where we will work alongside Partners for Resilience, PUM, RWS, and CMER. Furthermore, we have worked tirelessly in the inception phase to establish ourselves a major stakeholder convener in Manila when it comes to inclusive urban development. Over the past year we’ve regularly worked with or consulted National Government Agencies (i.e., DPWH, DOTr, NEDA, and PPP Centre), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Local Government Units (Malabon, Manila, Pasay, League of Cities), and infrastructure engineering companies.

In the first half of 2018 we have worked to integrate HCC’s unique and scalable methodology for addressing the lack of affordable housing and energy into the Metro Manila Flood Control Masterplan (by DPWH) and the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Masterplan. By working in this way, we hope the inclusion of populations directly affected by infrastructure projects becomes an integral part of all future infrastructure development in Manila.

Accelerating and concentrated urbanisation is global trend that has progressed in such a way that more than 1 billion people globally live in urban slums. If nothing is done, the number of slumdwellers – who face a lack of basic services and safe and reliable infrastructure – will grow to 3 billion by 2030. This produces a substantial number of people made vulnerable by the coexisting forces exerted by rapid urbanisation and climate change in cities situated along river deltas.

In Manila, the issue of land, affordable housing, and water management is interlinked. Four rivers flow through Metro Manila into Manila Bay – the Marikina, the San Juan, the Parañaque and the Pasig – all of which are prone to regular flooding following heavy rainfall. The impact of the rivers’ floods is worsened by the fact that people who live in informal settlements, and lack proper water and sanitation, often dump waste into riverways. This can have the adverse knock-on effect of creating further obstructions and worsening flooding.

A quarter of this megacity’s population lives below the poverty line. Consequently, a shortage of affordable housing is forcing people to live in the slums where water pollution is so bad that clean water must be imported from a nearby province. Many slum settlements are situated close to the water and left vulnerable to flooding. Plans are currently underway for a large-scale, World Bank-supported Flood Management Master Plan to address these challenges. It is important that the local communities are involved in this long-term infrastructure development process while, on the shorter term, stakeholders work together to better prepare local communities for floods and participatory water management.

Given the challenges megacities like Manila face, the United Nation’s set forth SDG11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. HCC works towards achieving SDG11 in Manila and elsewhere through a form of inclusive urban development that is anchored in government tenders and the funding conditions of multilateral organisations for all planning and infrastructure projects.

Get our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more delivered to your inbox.