Planning city extensions for sustainable urban development: a quick guide for local governments in the Philippines

With more than half of the country’s population now living in cities and more people projected to be living in cities in the next decades, Philippine cities, currently contributing to 80% of GDP, are the arena where the battle for achieving our targets on sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be won or lost. Cities are drivers of urban growth being hives of economic activities, centers of cultural enrichment and education, efficient providers of basic social services and employment. However, the unmanaged growth and unplanned expansion of our urban areas present negative externalities of urban sprawl, increasing informality, social exclusion, congestion and pollution, limited access to basic services and insecurity. Our city leaders and planners are challenged to look for optimum solutions and make the right decisions –in the context of a fast-changing urban landscape and rapid urbanization– to improve the quality of life of city dwellers and environmental sustainability of urban areas. PCE: Planning City Extensions for Sustainable Urban Development is a Guidebook intended primarily to help local government units in addressing the challenges of urbanization through a well-guided planning of city extensions. Planned city extensions are areas that the city has identified as suitable locations to absorb urban growth, to maximize the opportunities and to minimize negative externalities that come with rapid urban growth.

The PCE Guidebook is meant to support local government officials and key urban stakeholders as they take the lead in guiding sustainable urban development. It provides a step-by-step process of planning and detailing the urban design of a specific area within a city or municipality, while taking into consideration the policy and legal framework and the necessary financing strategy for implementation. It supports the guidelines of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board on Comprehensive Land Use Planning by elaborating details of urban design as well as offering legal and financing strategies culled from global best practices. This Guidebook concretely shares the process of planned city extensions as a powerful urban planning tool for cities to manage their growth and the expansion of their urban spaces.

This Guidebook is ground-truthed on actual experiences of the ASUD Project with our partners: the city governments of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Silay and Zamboanga; the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, universities and practitioners (planners, architects, sociologist, etc.). We thank, in particular, the Concep team led by Architect Dinky von Einsiedel for developing the working draft of this Guidebook which was refined through a participatory process with our ASUD partners. We thank all our partners for sharing their expertise and experience throughout the processes of city extension planning and the development of this Guidebook. As the users of this Guidebook apply the approaches and tools, we encourage them to give feedback and share insights gathered during its application so we can continually improve this tool.

To access the publication, follow this link.

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