Makati is constantly innovating and developing new ways to improve the quality of life for its residents and mitigate climate change. It is the first city in the world to commit to the Cities Race to Resilience Campaign in 2021, and the first Resilience Hub of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Southeast Asia.
As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, cities face the challenge of becoming more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change and natural and man-made hazards. One way to meet this challenge is for cities to invest in appropriate infrastructure and technology. In the Philippines, Makati is leading the way in this area. Makati has established an early warning system and a weather station aside from purchasing emergency response vehicles. The city has also distributed emergency go bags and hard hats to students and residents to promote disaster preparedness. The city of Makati is an example of how climate change adaptation and sustainability can go hand-in hand. By investing in disaster preparedness and sustainability, Makati is becoming a more resilient city that can withstand climate change’s impacts.
In 2022, Makati declared a climate emergency and call for action as a response to the global call to all cities and local leaders to help in the fight against climate change. Makati is a city that is constantly evolving, but it remains true to its roots as a place where people from all walks of life can come together and thrive. Whoever you are, wherever you are from, there’s a little bit of Makati in you!
Sustainability is a team effort, and everyone must do their part to make a difference. It is crucial to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. The path to sustainability is constantly evolving, and cities need to be flexible in order to achieve their goals. By addressing these challenges, cities can become more sustainable and ensure a bright future for all. At present, the city focuses on these four sustainability challenges:
- Affordable Housing and Built Environment
Despite its high population density, Makati has a limited land area for housing settlements. This has led to a number of problems, including the existence of informal settler families, lack of affordable housing, and high cost of living. As a result, low-income earners find it difficult to look for decent places to reside, forcing many to live in overcrowded and cramped conditions. Some people have even built shanties in danger zones near the West Valley Fault . This dilemma needs to be addressed urgently, as it affects many people’s lives in the city. To ensure that the urban settlement and housing concerns in the city are addressed, the city government organized a special local body called Makati City Urban Redevelopment and Housing Board (MCURHB) which leads the formulation of comprehensive and sustainable urban redevelopment and housing program policies. Makati is taking measures to increase the land area available for housing settlements. This program aims to make Makati more sustainable in the long term and improve the quality of life of residents. Makati has two in-city housing projects for city government employees and two resettlement projects outside the city, which serve as relocation sites for informal settlers, and its planning to build 500 more housing units to address the shelter needs under the Makati City Comprehensive Shelter Plan. The city will also allocate 1,000 units for city government employees who do not own a home.
- Inclusive and Sustainable Land Use
The rapid urbanization brought a lot of interrelated threats in achieving land use sustainability. Makati City as the financial capital of the Philippines is confronted by various impacts of metropolitan development. Identified issues on inclusive and sustainable land use are the following: 1) Manage growth of the Central Business District (CBD) – Areas where the CBD can expand have to be defined to avoid or minimize haphazard developments that conflict with adjacent uses or cannot be supported by existing and future infrastructure and other services. Building densities have to be carefully calculated. 2) Sustainable Infrastructure upgrade – As the City now aspires to become a major center of business in Asia, the need for state-of-the-art infrastructure becomes even more paramount. 3) Broader land use mix – Including medium to high-density housing that caters to the middle- and lower middle-income segment of the market; historical and cultural uses (museums, art galleries, performing arts centers, etc.) that will further enrich Makati’s culture; and recreational uses to provide residents and visitors usable green/open spaces.
- Inclusive Sustainable Mobility
Since Makati is home to top businesses and financial institutions, its CBD is also one of the most congested areas in the country. Heavy traffic and air pollution affect not only the productivity of workers and businesses but also the health of residents. The massive volume of cars in the city also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Makati has partnered with the private sector and international agencies to construct the country’s first intracity subway (Makati Subway) and smart bus system (Makati Smart Bus). These projects aim to encourage residents and workers to take alternative modes of transport. However, one of the biggest challenges of introducing eco-friendly mass transits is the displacement of public utility vehicle drivers. To promote climate justice, Makati will establish a safety net by collaborating with national governments and the private sector to minimize the impact on those who would lose their livelihoods. The city government is committed to solving these challenges and switching to electric-powered mass transits. In addition to mass transportation, Makati also invests in the maintenance of its sidewalk and linear parks. As of 2021, the total length of the sidewalk being maintained by the City Government is 448.126 km equivalent to 99.1% walkable sidewalk. In order to attain 100% walkable sidewalk, the City Government continuously rehabilitates and implements a sidewalk beautification program.
- Equitable and Sustainable Renewable Energy Systems
While Makati has over 1,000 buildings, only a few are LEED-certified and registered. Continuing infrastructure development at the city’s CBD increases carbon footprint and energy consumption, which in turn has harmful effects on the environment. High cost and logistical challenges associated with switching to renewable energy make it difficult for Makati and businesses to speed up the transition. Makati needs to augment its resources for energy transition and other urgent climate action through partnerships with the private sector and green financing programs from international organizations and multilateral development banks. The city also continues to strictly implement the Zoning Ordinance, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Ordinance, Plastic Ban in Establishments, Anti-Smoking Ordinance, Solid Waste Management Code, and the Ordinance on Regulation of Groundwater Extraction to protect the environment and mitigate climate change. The city government also plans to enact the Makati Green Building Code to fast-track the adoption of green building practices. Incentives will be given to owners and developers whose buildings have complied with the provisions and requirements under the ordinance. Soon, the city will install solar panels in all of its public schools and the City Hall and bring the GHG Biggest Loser Challenge to 33 villages to generate support and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the grassroots level.