7.24.2007

growing metro manila



The animation above shows the rapid growth of highly urbanized areas (areas in yellow) in the National Capital Region from 1948 to 1999, and, as estimated, by 2015.

The growth is nothing short of spectacular.

Starting with just 83 square kilometers in 1945, the metro grew thus:

  • 1948 =83 km2
  • 1966 =221 km2
  • 1975 =323 km2
  • 1996 =788 km2
  • 2015 =1,512 km2 (projected)

    (Click on the year to see a snapshot for that year.)

So, in 48 years -from 1948 to 1996 - the highly urbanized core of the metropolis grew by an astounding 705 square kilometers or 849%. That means the development grew by an average of 14.6 square kilometers every year (18%). That's like adding an area half the size of the city of Makati to the metro every year.

The rapid urban growth, coupled with an equally explosive population growth pretty much explains why we went from the idyllic urban scenes of the 60s to the current chaos of Metro Manila.

Greater Manila's population was about 1.5 million in 1948. It hit 10.8 million by 2000. Which meant we added about 180,000 people to the metropolis each year.

That's like moving the whole (current) population of Cebu City to Metro Manila every 4 years.

No planning department (indeed, no organization) in the world could have coped with that kind of explosive growth.

The pace of growth also explains the housing crunch that we currently face. To cope with that growth, we would have had to build at the pace of nearly a hundred houses everyday for the last fifty years. (No, we couldn't get time off for weekends, either.)

I'll discuss this more on my next post - which will also be my answer to Peter Angliongto's last comment.

We're not done yet! If the projections are correct, the highly urbanized core will nearly double in size by 2015.

This kind of growth though is par for the course of megacities worldwide and is a part of the global trend of rapid urbanization.

It's good to keep this frame in mind next time you get tempted to blame all of Metro Manila's woes on our our supposed lack of discipline, or the avarice of our oligarchs or the corruption of our local officials or even the (presumed) faults of our culture.

Remember, it's not the attitude, it's the (sheer) numbers.


Data for map image extracted from MMUTIS
from a presentation by Dr. Ricardo Sigua

9 comments:

koikaze said...

Good Evening, Urbano

Thanks for the eye-opener. I went over to peek at the "idyllic scenes of the '60s" and enjoyed that, too. I never had the privilege of visiting the Philippines but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the material you post.

I'm mostly writing because of the effect Vince's comments (on the idyllic site) had on me. It made me sad that a person could harbor so much unhappiness they couldn't enjoy beauty without pointing out the real or imagined unattractiveness in it.

Fred

Eugene said...

"It's good to keep this frame in mind next time you get tempted to blame all of Metro Manila's woes on our our supposed lack of discipline, or the avarice of our oligarchs or the corruption of our local officials or even the (presumed) faults of our culture."

Well, most of us do have a lack of discipline, so I don't think it's just "supposed." If there's a chance of panlalamang we take it. We jaywalk, beat red lights, throw candy wrappers out the side of the jeep, etc. The primary reason why drivers follow the traffic rules in Subic is the threat of getting caught, not because of some inner urge to do good.

Also, our culture of patronage and utang na loob, while not exactly faults, do certainly play a large part in some of our weaknesses as a society. They work well in interpersonal relationships, especially family ties, but have effects on the "common good" of society.

But, good point in showing that the urbanization problem of the Metro is too big to be explained by the lack of discipline, local corruption, and other societal failings. The Metro simply just grew too fast to be managed properly.

It would be nice to compare this to Tokyo, which, I'm sure also had fantastic growth rates since WWII. Tokyo is much, much more cleaner, organized, and efficient today than Manila that they must be doing something right, despite the explosive growth.

Eugene said...

Er, a follow-up. I think (but I'm not sure) you mentioned before that the proposals to "decongest" Metro Manila's population to the rural areas is not the right tactic, but rather to embark on better urban planning.

So given that the population and urbanization of the Greater Manila Area is growing by leaps and bounds, should we still embrace it and manage it with proper planning and forgo of the decentralization?

If that's what you'll talk about in your next post, then I'll wait. :)

Urbano dela Cruz said...

Fred,

you should come visit Manila! I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy the adventure.

I guess it's hard to see the whole picture when we're too busy keeping our ideology blinders on.

UDC

Urbano dela Cruz said...

Eugene,

"Well, most of us do have a lack of discipline, so I don't think it's just "supposed." If there's a chance of panlalamang we take it. We jaywalk, beat red lights, throw candy wrappers out the side of the jeep, etc. The primary reason why drivers follow the traffic rules in Subic is the threat of getting caught, not because of some inner urge to do good."

You should visit NYC. Or LA. Or Rome. Take a look at how drivers behave in those cities. Same goes for pedestrians.

As to comparing it to Tokyo, we're talking apples to oranges. Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture's tax take in 2005 was US$ 52BILLION. It would be a total failure if you couldn't come up with a cleaner, more efficient city with that kind of a budget.

Tokyo has a nominal GDP of US$1.315 trillion. (By itself, it's probably the fifth or six largest economy in the world, after the US, Germany, Japan itself, and China.)

Of course it is a chicken and egg question. I mean how did they successfully grow their economy? (We'll have to get into a long discussion about macro economics, international investment flows and american imperialism. -and the bigger question of why Japan grew into an industrial powerhouse and we didn't.) And did good urban management have an impact on the growth of their economy?

I do think having a large regional authority (the Tokyo Metropolitan Government) helps. Take a look at their Principal Policies and Priority Projects for 2007. And compare that to MMDA's Metro Gwapo program.

Also, I have to point it out, Tokyo very early on decided that they were going to grow using mass transit (rail, etc.) and discouraged car ownership. (I think a parking space in Tokyo is more expensive than the car itself.)

So it would be grossly unfair to compare us to Tokyo. Maybe Mexico City, or Sao Paolo, or Rio, or Mumbai.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

Eugene,

yes, i'll discuss more of my snswer to you second question in my next post but just a quick (rhetorical) question:

what would be more efficient? building one new city for 700,000 people every four years or reinvesting and improving the current metro infrastructure to serve another 700,000 people?

(as to investing in our other cities so they'll absorb the 700,000 instead -well, that's another matter.)

peterangliongto said...

hehe nice video, now if you could only tell me where the next blob of blue will be then I'll buy some land there!

I'm curious though as to where you actually think MM or GMA or Manila population will be when it stabilizes (an assumption indeed).

Since population growth has actually slown (may word ba na ganito or has the taglishization of the english language happened again!) haha, ok slowed down. And assuming Cebu, Davao, CDO corridor, Bacolod, Iloilo and Lingayen Dagupan only double. There must be some workable numbers there to derive from the supposed move to cities from the ruralite 40+ percent of the population (assuming only 5% decide they don't want to work in a call center but plant rice) to figure out when it stops right.

Another interesting question is who exactly in government is actually planning for this hehe.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

peter,

I wish there was a magic number where we can say "urbanization stops here."

unfortunately, this whole phenomena is so new to the world we're all just barely understanding it.

we do know that cities are population sinks (i.e. - women tend to have less children when they live in urban areas) -and the same seems to be true for metro manila and the adjacent (also rapidly urbanizing) regions, and although the urban population growth rate is slowing down, the full effect of the slow down probably won't happen for another generation.

In the meantime, we have this mess in front of us.

peterangliongto said...

Just trying to get a guesstimate from you hehe.

I understand that it's difficult to make it as any modeling would be very dynamic and it's accuracy may just be as good as the wall street journals monkey in picking stocks!(http://www.investorhome.com/darts.htm) hehe.

My question regarding who is planning MM is rhetorical actually as we already there are mighty big holes where the HUDCC and MMDA end and the individual cities meet! Hency my frustration several posts ago in giving these agencies more strenght.

I think that most cities and agencies and specially those outside MM underestimate their growth and their planning and coordination and administration has to play catch up. A good example is Davao which seems to heading towards an LA type sprawl with the way it manages it's growth, most of the assumptions they use seem to point to a 2million person city when the reality of a 3 or 4 million person place is quite realistic in the next couple of decades. By that time nako LA na talaga. Oh well.

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