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This ‘Pollution-Free’ City in the Philippines Is the Future We Need

As the twin phenomena of human-made climate change and rapid population growth accelerate around the world, bustling cities in the developing world are increasingly finding themselves at-risk of both natural and man-made disasters. 

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in Manila, in the Philippines. The world’s most crowded city, Manila faces myriad challenges: rising levels of pollution, the world’s worst traffic, nearby volcanoes, and a population density twice that of New York City

But it may soon be granted a reprieve from this predicament in the form of a newly-built “pollution-free” neighbor city, just 70 miles outside the capital. 

Called New Clark City, this 23,000-acre development will enshrine key tenets of sustainable design, including buildings that minimize water use, copious green space, and driverless cars that run on clean energy, according to Business Insider

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The project is the dreamchild of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which, according to its website, turns areas formerly used by the military into “sustainable urban communities to uplift the lives of Filipinos.” 

“With the New Clark City, we are partnering with the government in building the Filipinos’ dream city with the help of the world,” said Francis Ceballos, CEO of Filinvest Land Inc., a partner in developing the city, in a statement

Construction on administrative offices and a sports stadium has already begun, and the first stage of construction will go through 2022, according to CNBC.

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Planners see the city as fulfilling several purposes, including reducing congestion in Manila, attracting international investment, and potentially hosting displaced Manilans in the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. 

“What we are experiencing now was experienced by Kuala Lumpur 25 years ago — flooding, garbage, traffic congestion, overpopulation, and pollution,” Isaac S. David, chairman of construction company AlloyMTD, told “My dream for New Clark City is to have the government there, complete with facilities and schools, entertainment complexes, malls, and house of worship.” 

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