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Framework for Sustained Urban Dev't. with Tourism

Going out of your community will open your eyes to new possibilities or even validate ideas that have been playing in your mind. Benchmarks, you find benchmarks (or pegs) to which new ideas can be anchored on. That, as out of the box or crazy as they may sound, those ideas are actually nothing new and have been generously applied in many other sites.

Mine came when I visited Cheonggyecheon Park in Seoul, South Korea. A wide stretch of highway that was transformed into a park. You cannot do that in the Philippines! It's the other way around, parks are turned into concrete buildings, parking lots or roads.

There has been a constant cry to take care of the environment. But taking care of nature has been a default burden to the government units and a pesky issue to many businesses. Space in urban centers are priceless. Why give them away to grasses, trees and the homeless? The only tangible value of space many understand is the money value of each square meter, down to square centimeter.

But there is more to taking care of the environment than just appearing to be a tree hugger. Many cities have shown the way. Seoul is one, Chicago is now experiencing "parks philanthropy" wherein private businesses actually spend for the development or upkeep of parks. And so many more (calling Singapore and Hong Kong!).

Because...... it makes real sense!

Parks and open spaces enhance an area. That's just for starters. The locals have sanctuaries they can visit anytime, and actually "own". And the side effect? Business addresses are enhanced and preferred. It then paves the way for more and improved businesses to locate in the area. Big companies come in because of the total environment the area offers (happy people, happy workers, happy consumers, cleaner streets, clearer air), and a lot of micro and small scale businesses crop up.

Its not too late for the Philippines, there are numerous emerging cities that are on the way to developing. This is a great chance to put into proper perspective the real value of taking care of the environment  which is actually headed towards ensuring the sustained development of the area, the quality of the community, and the overall quality of living. Which is the goal of every citizen in any area.

Below is a rough framework I developed, just in case local executives would consider looking at the enhanced or protected environment as a primary component in urban development.

The site has products, facilities and services that are developed to realize its economic upliftment. To ensure that these products are owned, championed and protected by the community, the environment must be regarded not as a burden, but part of the overall development investment for the area. If this happens, the community will reap the benefits and the businesses will respond to the community and transient/tourist demands, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the development.

In conclusion - invest in open spaces, study movement spaces and features, and create environment facilities that become part of the showcase of the area (and not something to be ashamed of).

So many countries have shown it works, we are playing catch-up, but I think we still can.


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