"The columns, bylined by invited residents of the city, were intended as a series of ideas on transforming the city.
One column I clipped and brought (home) was by Milind Deora, member of Parliament. In it, he argued, "We have to unite our views on what needs to be done for this city. Mumbai has 15 million different visions. A commuter's vision is different from a man who drives a fancy car. And a pedestrian has a third point of view. All of us have a role to play in uniting our vision.
"Someone living in a slum has to know that his or her vision has to tie up with the millionaire living in a high rise. Once that happens, we will be able to come out with a common blueprint and stick to it. And then place our collective demands before the various layers of government."
CEO for Cities says: "U.S. papers might take a cue from The Hindustan Times. This would be a valuable conversation for any newspaper to host."
I couldn't find the columns online (maybe they were exclusive to the print edition), but I certainly think that our local papers should also consider running such a series.
I have long bewailed that the metro sections of our newspapers deal nothing with metropolitan issues apart from featuring local crime stories with an occasional MMDA press release on traffic or garbage issues. Is there nothing else about our cities apart from crime, traffic or garbage?
It would be a welcome relief to ask our wannabe senators (be they pro, anti or third force) how they would address the long neglected urban issues that the majority (60% and growing) of our countrymen have to live with day-in and day-out. Ask the pols what their vision is for Metro Manila and our other urban centers and put that against the vision of the urban poor, of the middle class, of the artists, the technopreneurs, the businessmen, the OFW families, the architects, the students, etc.
If we can start talking about the future, maybe we can actually free ourselves from our past. As Milind Deora, puts it, "All of us have a role to play in uniting our vision."
If someone were ambitious enough, maybe we can work towards something like this.