- MMDA kicks off P100M "facelift" of Metro Manila "investor corridors". (Also featured in this article from Star and a month ago in this article from INQ7.)
- The SC bars MMDA from tearing down billboards along the MRT.
- Congress updates the rent control law.
Item 1: Cosmetic changes don't last very long
From the Star article:
"The President defined these corridors as the "routes that investors pass all the time when they are thinking of whether they should invest in the Philippines" and the "routes that creditors pass all the time when they are thinking whether we have the ability to pay our debts."
From the latest INQ7 article:
"The general idea here is not to cover up, but to open the areas for commerce," Fernando said.
One idea is to convert sidewalks into parking areas, he said.
Much as I appreciate any work done to improve the city, P100M could go a long way to making substantial changes in the life of the city. This approach sounds so wholly cosmetic -and caters to investors riding in cars. -- Why not actually improve the livability of the city along the routes?
Change sidewalks to parking!!! Please! Hasn't the President or BF learned anything from their visits to other cities? Streetlife is what makes a city attractive -NOT parking.
Item 2: You want to change the look of the city? Start with the billboards.
What exactly does this scene say? Come invest in our city because we don't care what it looks like as long as you can advertise on it? (Thanks to Carlos' post)
We've got to begin respecting everyone who lives in the city -providing them a city worth living in and not spend our money on make-up trying to whore ourselves to investors -or to advertisers.
Investors are not dumb -they go to where business makes sense -and right now business makes sense where there is available talent -and available talent seems to like settling in very livable cities.
(I'm not against outdoor advertising, as long as it's outdoor advertising that respects the city.)
Item 3: Doing what's popular vs. doing what's right
I know rent control is well-intentioned. It's also very popular. It also prevents redevelopment by not allowing land-owners to earn capital -or by not making it worth investing in improving property.
There are plenty of studies on the market-distorting effects of rent-control. Many show that it actually makes the housing market worse for the those who can afford the least. (See one commentary from Paul Krugman here.)
We need a sensible policy for housing, one that will provide for those who can afford the least, and yet encourage re-investment in our cities.
(OK. So I pontificated on this post. Maybe it's sleep deprivation.)
ADDED: One hour later
Can someone please help me put up the money to bring Enrique Penalosa to Metro Manila for a lecture? He should have a full audience with GMA, BF and all the Metro Manila Mayors.