What Is New Clark?
Jun 22 2018 Read 608 Times
Southeast Asia in general and the Philippines in particular are not renowned for their air quality and environmental practices. However, Filipino authorities are trying to counter that negative image with the construction of New Clark, an entirely planned, pollution-free city just 75 miles from the capital.
With Manila suffering from some of the worst traffic in the world, New Clark is hoped to offer an attractive counterpoint. It will be filled with driverless cars and green spaces, pollution-monitoring drones and low-energy consumption buildings, and will comprise a total size larger than the New York borough of Manhattan.
A blueprint for the future
New Clark is intended to represent a blueprint for cities of the future. Housing two million residents and costing an estimated £10.5 billion, two-thirds of the city will be devoted to parks and farms to offset its carbon emissions. These green spaces can also act as floodplains to make the city future-proof against natural disasters, an increasing concern in the face of climate change.
The government agency behind the project, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), have outlined five key areas they wish to target. These include improving air quality, the protection of biodiversity, the removal of micropollutants, contaminants of emerging concern and endocrine disruptors in treated water to ensure a safe and continual water supply, heightened energy efficiency and the use and recycling of sustainable materials in its construction.
The BCDA has announced an ambitious completion date of 2019 for the city’s sports facility so that it can host the Southeast Asian Games, though the rest of the city is not expected to reach completion for the best part of three decades. This is to ensure that the same mistakes encountered in the construction of Manila are not repeated.
Philippines turning over a new leaf
As the most population-dense city in the world, Manila has 107,561 residents per square mile. For context, Greater London has a population density of approximately 14,500 people per square mile, meaning it’s almost ten times less densely populated than Manila. One noticeable consequence of this is the looming smog clouds which permanently hover over the Filipino capital.
In recent years, the country’s government have taken steps to try and address this worrying air pollution problem. Last year, environment minister Regina Lopez cracked down on mining by cancelling the contracts of 75 fossil fuel mines across the nation. Although the decision prompted disbelief and outrage from the industry, it represents an important move towards more sustainable means of energy generation in the country.
New Clark is the latest venture to try and address the Philippines’ environmental issues. Built in part to alleviate the congestion of Manila and in part to serve as an example of how cities of tomorrow should operate, it poses an exciting move by Filipino authorities to take responsibility for their carbon footprint and tailor their habits for a cleaner, greener future.
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