In Need: A Master Urban Design for Metro Manila

Metro Manila is the central hub of this great nation, this is where the major political and economic forces are located. It is per-say the core of the whole country, that if Metro Manila is nuked and destroyed, the entire country would be paralyzed with it losing almost all top ranking officials, academie, economic forces etc. Yes, Metro Manila is of great importance but it lacks a master urban design.

From the words of Eddie Yap, chair of the urban development committee of the Management Association of the Philippines, which was taken from (Wallace, 2013):

“Metro Manila is the country’s economic, social, educational and political nerve center, where about 20 million people live and work and are a very significant contributor to the national economy. It is the metropolis by which the outside world views and judges the Philippines, where the government’s effectiveness or inutility is measured.

Living and working conditions in Metro Manila have worsened as economic activity picks up and the population grows. It remains one of the most chaotic, traffic-choked, dysfunctional, inefficient, and polluted megacities in Asia. As we’ve witnessed in the last couple of weeks, it almost comes to a standstill due to floods from downpours even when there are no typhoons. Urban development is done helter-skelter, without proper urban planning or common sense.

There is a need for a master urban design and action plan, to be put into action with a sense of urgency, for Metro Manila.”

Every great city, or megacity for that matter, starts from a master plan with a goal to provide progress without compromising the needs of the people. A plan geared to provide an enhanced and well balanced mix of environmental, social and economical factors, a plan Metro Manila has failed to achieve. There have been numerous proposals for an urban development plan of Metro Manila but none have been implemented, with this the megacity is drowned in pollution, inefficiency and chaos, with every morning and evening news showing bumper to bumper traffic in major roads of the metropolis.

The lack of a master plan brings out problems in every aspect which a city must properly maintain. Such that there are serious problems in the environmental, social and economic factors of the megacity. In which there is serious pollution of both land, air and water, and also noise for that matter, in terms of environmental factors which then poses as a thereat to the health and welfare of each citizen in the metropolis. The improper distribution of police stations, fire stations and hospitals for a proper ratio of service to number of citizens poses numerous hazards such as the crime rates in terms of the social factor and of course the inefficiency brought about by congestion and long hours of traffic which results in higher operating costs for businesses and less productivity in terms of the economic factor. The list goes on and on for every aspect due to the lack of a well-organized and proper urban development scheme for this great metropolis.

Most of the problems we are experiencing today is because of the lack of this master plan, the heavy traffic, the narrow streets, the polluted rivers, the informal settlers and of course, the non-stop flooding. But it must always be remembered that it is never too late, its citizens don`t have to endure the consequences of the lack of vision and future preparation of those before them, rather there is still hope for a re-development and re-urbanizing of this great metropolis, but this can only be done if there is a strong sense of willingness of not only of all the government agencies, specifically Departments of Public Works and Highways, Transportation, Environment, and Interior and Local Government, together with the Metro Manila Development Authority and local government units, but also of the masses whose lives are affected by the serious problems brought about by the lack of proper planning and preparation.

Its never to late for Metro manila to be proper planned and developed as Singapore, all that is needed is the urge and discipline to do so. The list is long of what must be done and what must be changed in order to make this metropolis a more habitable place to live, the urgency must be felt and the corresponding actions must be done immediately, for this is not only for the current generation but for the next generations to come.

References: Wallace, P. (2013, June 19). Like It Is: It’s way past time for action. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

– Miguel Rey Ramos, 2012-30997


One thought on “In Need: A Master Urban Design for Metro Manila

  1. I agree that Metro Manila is in need of a master plan for it to be a great capital just like in first world countries. Because of the lack of efficient planning; floods, traffic, accidents, etc. continue to affect our beloved metropolis. However, I believe that aside from having a grand master plan, I think COMMUNICATION among local officials is also needed. I have noticed (correct me if I’m wrong) that the development of infrastructures around the metro is not well “distributed.” Furthermore, some local officials do not assess their decisions properly and only think about their own city. There is nothing wrong with this but sometimes their decisions might affect nearby cities. Thanks for this post Miguel 🙂

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