Fed up with Manila’s immobilizing traffic and choking air pollution, the Philippines is looking to break new ground nearby with a high-tech “smart city” boasting drones, self-driving vehicles, and environmentally friendly design and technologies
Dubbed New Clark City, the metropolis of the future is planned in Central Luzon, some 75 miles from Manila, in the hope that it will alleviate some of the congestion in the hyper-dense capital, CNBC reports. The project is expected to house up to 2 million people and contribute $30 billion to the economy annually, according to the Philippine newspaper the Inquirer.
New Clark City will be a “twin city” to Manila, says Heang Fine Wong CEO of Singapore-based urban planning company Surbana Jurong, linked to the capital via rail line and a new airport. “You’ll gradually see Manila becoming a different type of city, maybe more financial to support the New Clark City, and in New Clark City you’ll see new technology companies coming through,” he said.
The project will also focus on making sure that the new city is sustainable and resilient to natural disasters in an effort to avoid replicating Manila’s vulnerability to flooding and typhoon damage.
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Decentralizing the Philippines’ economy and shifting government ministries away from Manila is a key domestic policy plan of President Rodrigo Duterte, who in a speech last year warned that Manila, currently home to 13 million people, could become a “dead city” within 25 years.
But the future envisioned by the Philippines’ urban planners is far from a reality, with most of the planned projects still to be funded through public-private partnerships to alleviate the burden on Manila’s strained treasury.
The first phase is scheduled to launch in 2022.