Mapúa professor advocates balanced urban development in Senate

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Architect Albert Zambrano, during his presentation on the importance of In-city housing and resettlement and, urban integration, at the Senate of the Philippines last February 17 (Photo credits to Architect Zambrano).

According to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…”

Such was the belief of Mapúa professor and Filipino architect Albert S. Zambrano when he spoke in the Senate, last February 17, about issues on justice and human rights, urban planning, housing, and resettlement.

“In ancient Greece, it is in the Senate that big ideas and big issues that would have an impact on the destiny of the nation were discussed. It is still the same today in most countries and in the Philippines,” Zambrano said, adding that speaking in such a forum in aid of legislation will enable people to listen and record in official historical documents the words he will impart during his discussion.

In-city housing and urban integration

In his 10-minute presentation, Zambrano highlighted the importance of in-city housing and resettlement, urban integration, and how these could contribute to a more efficient distribution of resources and alleviate several factors that cause severe poverty such as high transport demand, pollution, and stress.

He said that if the government will integrate low-income households in high-and-middle income areas, not only will worker productivity increase but roads also will be free from heavy-commuter traffic, which will lead to a faster delivery of goods and services.

“Today, there’s a lot of construction going on. What if for every building constructed, a corresponding portion of it would be dedicated to social housing? If we make it as a requirement, we can create a lot of social housing, if not within the same lot or property, then at least within the city itself,” said Zambrano.

Social housing refers to affordable rental housing which may be owned and managed by the government, by a non-profit organization, or by a combination of the two with the aim to assist households with lower or modest incomes.

Zambrano further said that such set-up is possible since cities like New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, London, and Singapore are implementing social housing in their communities by enacting laws and policies that will provide affordable homes to those who have none.

Decrease expenses, increase income

Also, being a green architecture advocate, Zambrano incorporated one of his recent projects, the vertical sidewalk-medium rise building, to complement the concept of urban planning and social housing in the country. The said structure aims to decrease household expenses and increase income-generating opportunities by using natural light and ventilation, having walls suitable for growing pechay or spinach, and catching and recycling water during the rainy season. It was also designed to house micro, small, medium, and home-based enterprises.

“Green architecture at the moment is mostly implemented with projects for the upper 10% income bracket. It will have an even greater impact if green architecture is applied for the other 90% lower-income bracket. I am creating green designs together with students—green designs that can be applied on a mass scale, [that will have] a bigger impact on the environment and society,” he concluded.

The map shows the ideal scenario for urban integration in Metro Manila wherein low-income (yellow) households blend in with high (red) and middle (orange) income ones. This scenario will give workers a shorter commute, less stress and more productivity. This will also alleviate heavy-commuter traffic thus faster delivery of goods and services (Photo credits to Architect Zambrano).