San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has tapped ‘green’ architect and urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox to master plan its Bulacan airport city and put sustainability features into its Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) and future infrastructure projects, president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang Tuesday, (May 11) announced.
Palafox will also retrofit SMC'S existing road networks to meet sustainable social, economic and environmental needs.
Among the country’s top urban planners, Palafox, founder and head of architectural firm Palafox Associates, is known for incorporating sustainable features and environment planning into its projects.
“From the beginning, we made it very clear that both the airport and airport city projects will be designed with sustainability in mind, ensuring protection and enhancement of the environment, and positive social impact," according to the SMC president.
In building the Airport City, which is separate from the airport development itself, both SMC and Palafox seek to correct shortcomings made in other urban centers, including Makati and BGC, he explained.
“We hope to have even better urban planning for the airport city," he elaborated.
"First, access will not be a problem. We want to avoid traffic jams, the result of poor transportation and limited road networks leading into and out of the airport city," Ang stressed.
"Second, we want to improve on open spaces, to have more of them, perhaps make them interconnect. Parks, wider pedestrian areas, dedicated bicycle paths--these are just some of the things we want to include in the masterplan.”
“We also want to enhance the natural environment while minimizing our impact on them," he added.
"Most importantly, we will incorporate design and engineering measures to mitigate environmental risks.”
Furthermore, SMC is tapping Palafox as consultant for all its upcoming expressway and mass transit projects, including the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) and the rehabilitation of the Pasig River.
While SMC's expressway projects are designed to decongest Metro Manila’s major roads, they also serve as platform for other modes of mobility, including mass transportation, such as bus rapid transit (BRT) or high-capacity point-to-point (P2P) transport systems.
"Palafox will help us bring all these to reality,” Ang noted.
Apart from the BRT, SMC intends to incorporate more people-centric, sustainable, urban design into all its future projects.
“In the last 30 years, our population has grown so much. There are millions of cars on the road. But our urban planning and the number of roads did not increase," he reasoned. "So for the most part, what government has been doing is to catch up."
For more than a decade now, SMC has been investing on infrastructure to provide long-term and scalable solutions.
Hence, “For our next-generation developments, like the airport, airport city, PAREX, and expressway and mass rail projects, we can be more deliberate and purposive in terms of urban planning and design," he underscored.
“This is where Palafox can help us because he is a visionary. It will take time, but I believe we will have better, more efficient, more comfortable and pleasant cities interconnected by sustainable infrastructure in the future,” Ang concluded.