By Johanes Chua
It is dubbed as the country’s ‘city of the future’ and by the looks of it, it may well be the city we all should look forward to as our next address: New Clark City.
Unknown to a lot of people, ground work is now being done at this area 100 kilometers north of Metro Manila that is almost 10,000 hectares in size. This is a massive undertaking considering that Makati is only 2,000 hectares while BGC is at almost 800 hectares only. In fact, projected data showed that New Clark City could accommodate as much as 1.2 million people.
“The New Clark City is not only what we call a smart city – it is also disaster-resilient,” said Vivencio Dizon, president and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development
Authority (BCDA), the government agency leading a team of developers, planners, architects, and designers behind this massive undertaking. “It is also projected as a city that will correct a lot of errors implemented in other urban areas such as Metro Manila.”
In saying ‘errors’, it would mean the problems that have afflicted Metro Manila for years – 24/7 pollution, gridlock traffic, lack of green spaces, decaying infrastructure, and so on. As a smart city, the New Clark City aims to highlight technology, mobility and sustainability.
According to a statement, New Clark City will utilize “advanced technology solutions and it will be seamlessly integrated in the development.
An underground utility corridor will house major utility lines for better installation, management, upgrading, and protection from disasters such as flooding and earthquake.
Meanwhile, an integrated operations center will coordinate all utility operations and facilitate remote management of various city operations, where reliable telecom facilities
and internet everywhere will keep it connected to the rest of the world.”
“It was carefully masterplanned to address decades of problems in urban development by creating a modern city that revolves around green and natural spaces. It was designed with quality living as priority,” Dizon said.
As a smart city, everything that one will need will be available (or will be just a walk away) to encourage everyone to cut down on car usage (thus cutting on carbon footprint). In fact, it will have buildings (preferably LEED-certified ones that are truly ‘green) ready for schools, sports facilities, parks, among others to promote a well-rounded lifestyle.
Not only is the new city livable and sustainable, it has a ‘higher’ purpose. It is revealed that the New Clark City is positioned as an alternative site for government offices (called National Government Administrative Center) should Metro Manila become ‘incapacitated’ due to a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
With all these developments, it is very practical for companies, schools, or even individuals to move to this area soon. However, it might not be possible as the first phase (around 300 hectares) will only be complete by 2022 – while one has to wait around three to four decades before the entire massive development is finished.
But as a preview of things to come, construction has already began in some areas such as a sports complex (athletic stadium and aquatic center), government buildings and housing for government employees specifically in time for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
If this project is not yet massive enough, plans are also underway for an expansion of the Clark International Airport and a railway linking Manila to Clark.
“New Clark City is a celebration of the country’s culture and authenticity, and a showcase of urban innovation,” concluded Dizon. Indeed, exciting times are ahead in this part of the Philippines.