Note: It's been a little tough around here, so again my apologies for not giving timely responses to your comments. We were terribly affected by the loss of Jack. Top that off with losing my eldest brother the month before, and Ana X a few months earlier. So it's been quite a year.
I had started several posts -all of them are stuck in some half complete form that I will hopefully get around to posting. (Q: How many half-completed posts are in your "draft posts" queue? I've got 38.)
There were several interesting articles last week that I wanted share and comment on but with the work grind still at maximum, I'll have to stick to short comments.
Pictured above is Arup's EcoBlock, a carbon-neutral take on China's SuperBlock model of urban development. SuperBlocks are key units in the 400x400 sq.m. development scales used in PROC's urban planning models - usually gated, always hi-rise.
"We knew that Chinese gated superblocks comprise the largest part of China’s overall development efforts, which are among the most ambitious construction in the history of the world. The Chinese are building 10 to 15 gated superblocks every day, equal to 10 million to 12 million housing units per year (10 times the US average). " (Unforbidden Cities)So says Harrison Frakker Jr. (Dean of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design). Berkeley CED's Urban Sustainability Initiative worked with Arup (the top engineering firm the world) to develop the alternative model for China's cities. Enter the EcoBlock:
Designed to be replicable to the masses, a concept that in reality puts minimal pressure on off-site infrastructure and the natural environment...Largely self sufficient in terms of energy and water use, EcoBlocks are carbon-neutral developments. Their layouts encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport.
All wastewater is recycled on-site; energy generation is on-site and any energy generated on-site from waste, sun, and wind is used to treat rainwater and gray water and provide residents with high quality potable drinking water. Even food waste and landscaping waste will be converted into energy to power residents' homes.And the potential impact of the EcoBlock model?
Constructed wetlands and swales collect and treat water for reuse, serving the dual purpose of enhancing the aesthetic value of each neighborhood and creating green waste that can be transformed into energy within an on-site anaerobic digester. And EcoBlocks are designed to use 40 percent less energy than a standard development of its size.
...if 18,333 600-unit EcoBlocks were built, it would keep 34 landfills, 42 power plants, 54 water treatment plants, and 51 wastewater treatment plants from being built, at a total cost savings of $38,737,185,000 ... (Arup) estimates that the Chinese government alone would save 1.3 percent of its GDP from not having to build additional infrastructure to meet demands for energy, clean water, sanitation and waste disposal - and that's not counting the savings from costs currently associated with treating environmental pollution associated health problems, which currently claims about 10 percent of the country's GDP.Could we use a similar model in redeveloping Metro Manila? (To give you an idea of the scale of a 400x400 meter project (16 hectares), here's how it measures against Glorietta:
Meanwhile, Richard Florida, proponent of the Creative Class and their role in making cities competitive, published a list of the top 40 mega-regions in the world. (All of them, urban corridors). Florida and his team compiled the top mega-regions (via CEOsforCities):
They use a new measure they call Light-based Regional Product to rank the world's top 40 mega-regions. They also include rankings by population, patents and frequently-cited scientists.In an article addressed to Torontonians (via Google's cache), he writes:
Greater Tokyo is the world's top mega-region. Boston-Washington and Chicago-Pittsburgh rank second and third.
Greater Toyko has 55.1 million people, LRP of $2.5 trillion, 91,280 patents, 11 highly-cited scientific authors. (All numbers are 2000-2001.)
Boston-Washington has 54.3 million people, LRP of $2.2 trillion, 21307 patents, and 293 authors.
Chicago-Pittsburgh has 46 million people, LRP of $1.6 trillion, 17,686 patents and 67 authors.
Rounding out the top 10 are:
Southern California (LA-San Diego-Tijuana)
According to our definition, mega-regions are made up of two or more contiguous cities and their surrounding suburbs, and generate more than $100-billion in annual economic output.Read the pre-publication release of the paper here. (pdf)
...mega-regions are the real economic engines of the global economy. The 10 largest account for 43 per cent of the planet's economic activity and more than half of its patented innovations and star scientists who generate pioneering breakthroughs, while housing only 6.5 per cent of its population. The top 40 produce 66 per cent of the world's economic activity and more than eight in 10 of its patented innovations and most-cited scientists, while being home to just 18 per cent of the world's population.
All of this convinces me that place, not statehood, is the central axis of our time and of our global economy.
Is Metro Manila on the list? Nope. Despite the supersized populations, megacities don't automatically fall into the mega-regions, although Mexico City, the Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paolo corridor, and Delhi-Lahore make it to the list. (So do Singapore and Bangkok.)
Here's their map of the mega-regions in Asia:
Which then makes me think that key to our competitiveness would be to strengthen Metro Manila's connections (transportation and trade) with Hong Kong-Shenzen, Singapore and Taipei.