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.)
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.
from a presentation by Dr. Ricardo Sigua