Manila, plagued by daily gridlock and dwindling living space, is in search for a long-term solution and the answer seems obvious – build a new city or better yet, a metropolis that hopefully will ease the pressure off the bursting Philippine capital. In the next few years, the New Clark City is envisioned to take shape and the Southeast Asian nation is expectedly brimming with optimism.
Why not, since the ambitious project will rise within the sprawling Clark Special Economic Zone, formerly a military base that the United States was forced to abandon in the early 1990s. The new city will have an access to an international airport and all the crucial elements that will support its principal role – to decongest Manila and perhaps become the new centre of important activities for the Philippines, economically and politically.
The New Clark City, according to Forbes, will rise some 120 kilometres north of Manila, and is advertised by the project’s lead agency, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), as “an example city with sustainability at its core.”
“The new green city … will boast driverless cars, drones, large green spaces, low consumption buildings, and massive sports complexes,” the report said.
When completed, which the Philippine government said is targeted to happen in 2022 at an estimated total cost of $14 billion, the New Clark will have two million residents sharing a futuristic city that is pollution free and with “green spaces and farms to help offset carbon dioxide emissions.”
To make the project a reality, BCDA is working with business partners from Japan and Singapore.
Development Now Underway
For its part, Japan through Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development has already commenced the building of a new railway that link the New Clark directly to the Philippine capital. The rail network will start it first phase of operation in 2022 and travel time, CNBC reported, between the two cities will only take one hour.
Taking the road, the drive or commute could stretch up to three hours, thus underscoring the crucial role that Japan plays to make the New Clark City happen.
Singapore’s collaboration is via Surbana Jurong that previously had handled notable developments such as the Changi Airport Terminal 4 and the Marina Bay Development – all in Singapore.
“Surbana Jurong will refine NCC’s (New Clark City) urban and infrastructure design, review agreements for providing water and power, and develop a framework for its long-term operation,” Entrepreneur Philippines said in a related report.
However, the most important component of the project is its green agenda that experts said will make New Clark environmentally sustainable, resilient and cost-effective at the same time. This vision takes a direct page from models seen in America and Japan, The Japan Times reported, adding the key objective is for the development project to become “successful, innovative and economically competitive.”
With strong emphasis on a green agenda, “social resilience also gets strengthened,” in the process,” the Japanese publication added on its report.
It appears the New Clark City, so far, is looking good and the Philippine government said the development site will be set to host 2019 edition of the biennial Southeast Asian Games.