why naga matters

In this blog, i've focused pretty much on Metro Manila and its issues (with some forays into Subic). As a megacity, Metro Manila shares the same challenges as Lagos, or Sao Paolo or Mumbai. The world is rapidly urbanizing and the megacities are the poster children of the human condition.

That being said, urban agglomerations of 10M or more will account for little over 5% of the world's total urban population by 2015. Meanwhile, one out of every four (and by 2015, one out of every five) city dwellers will be living in a city with less than half a million inhabitants.

This is why Naga is important (...and San Fernando...and Bacolod...and San Miguel, etc.) -because our small cities offer a chance at better models of urbanization. A chance to get ahead of the curve and work on making livable cities rather than just struggling with the megacity hydras of moving, housing and cleaning up after (not to mention governing) 10M+ people.

The challenge is to get the small cities to seriously consider their future -and to find other models (to be un-Manilas) of growth. (See also this, and this.) The hope is in enlightened mayors such as Jesse Robredo and in enlightened city staff who are ready to tap internal and external resources to help guide the growth of their cities.

The information economy -where location takes a backseat to (cyber) connectivity -will offer hundreds of new opportunities for small cities.

P.S. If I had my druthers, I'd start a small city consultancy to offer help (particularly in strategic urban planning) for our under .5M cities back home. (As it is, I already work with small cities. Maybe in a few years...)

Image credit: Extract from Joel Chamie's ppt on Urbanization and Migration: A Global Perspective. (From an excellent conversation on urbanization between Joel Chamie and Stewart Brand at the Global Business Network. PDF copies of their powerpoint slides are available for download.)

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