Is Clark Green City the future of ‘Smart Cities’ in PH?

Krista Garcia
Is Clark Green City the future of ‘Smart Cities’ in PH?
What's in store for BCDA's latest development in Pampanga? An Ivy League branch, sustainable infrastructure, and full walkable streets are all part of the plan
 

MANILA, Philippines – A Yale or Harvard school in the Philippines? That could be possible in the near future. 

At least, that’s one of the plans for Clark Green City, the latest city project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

9,450 hectares of the former military base in Pampanga will be converted into the country’s first “liveable, intelligent, green city.” The BCDA is now preparing the terms of reference for the bidding process, which will begin in the third quarter of this year. (READ: Clark Green City up for bidding in Q3)

Since Clark Green City is located in a Special Economic Zone, potential foreign investors, such as international schools, may receive tax incentives and other privileges that may not be available to them in other cities.

During a press briefing, BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova confirmed to Rappler that reaching out to Ivy League schools is included in the plan for the Clark Green City. “The trend now is that global institutions are moving to Asia, in countries like Singapore. Because of the Philippines’ competitive advantage, and the fact that our educational system was set up by the Americans, we are the next logical choice for American and global educational institutions. We have been looking to them.”

An educational hub is just one of five districts that will rise in the city. Based on its Master Development Plan, Clark Green City will also have a government district, a central business district, an agri-forestry research and development district,and a wellness and eco-tourism district. The BCDA hopes to attract locators.

By attracting foreign companies, Clark Green City hopes to create 925,000 new jobs. “Clark Green City is situated in an area populated by 12 million people, with one of the fastest growth rates at about 2.14% every year. It’s also home to the 2nd biggest population of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), so there’s a demand for residential areas, and even a big consumer market driven by remittances. So it will become a portal to the world economy of the country’s next generation of global citizens,” he said.

Forward-thinking

Aside from being an economical hub, Clark Green City is also primed to set an example for other future districts in Central Luzon.

All future buildings and infrastructures in the city will adhere to environment-friendly parameters  by the Philippines Green Building Council. The city will also be a fully walkable one: pedestrianization and creating efficient mass transport will be prioritized.

“We want [a city] where people could walk from their school, their office, to the grocery, so that it would limit the carbon emission and decongest the roads,” Casanova said. A healthy community also means a healthier population. “In cities where people usually walk, the obesity incidence is very low,” Casanova added.

In terms of utilities, Clark Green City will be patterned after modern South Korean districts like Songdo City. “Imagine an MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) that is fully automated.  All traffic, weather monitoring, disaster management, and security are hosted in one integrated operation center.  CCTVs and sensors are all interconnected and managed,” Casanova explained. Even power distribution would be allocated automatically, so that if one area has oversupply, the extra power could be channeled to an area where the demand is higher.

The BCDA hopes that Clark Green City will be a drawn-out solution to the problems that plague Metro Manila, such as congestion, lack of access to proper facilities, and unemployment.

“Our vision is to create the city of the future for Filipinos. We’re not simply creating a city; we are providing a benchmark for all other cities to emulate. The city that is safe, that provides opportunities for everyone, and uplifts the dignity of human beings as they live there,” Casanova said. “This is not only a progress for Central Luzon or Clark – this is a progress that we envision to contribute to the nation building.” – Rappler.com

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