JOHN LENNON had the right idea when he asked us to “imagine all the people living life in peace”. In reality, this kind of positive vision can be achieved by city builders and forward-thinkers who see plans through the long term.
Today’s urbanization is seeing streets that lack space and sustainability. This brings to mind an image of a future that is akin to a million canned sardines or a screengrab of WALL-E. That real possibility of that unfortunate glimpse is why premier global infrastructure firm AECOM and internationally acclaimed educational organization Asia Society had joined forces to launch “Imagine 2060: Delivering Tomorrow’s Cities Together”.
At the Water‘s Edge
Launching at Bonifacio Global City, this year marks the beginning of leaders and pioneers coming together to build better cities across Asia for the future generation to enjoy and flourish in. In Manila the essential “road to redemption” begins with the group’s initiative, “2017: At the Water’s Edge”.
Kicking off the three-year plan of forums, development and key leadership insights, At the Water’s Edge starts the conversation by discussing the varying ways in which waterfront cities, like Manila, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Hong Kong, have shaped their citizens’ quality of life.
Allowing for debate and aggregation of the world’s best advice and instruction for doable and sustainable urban planning, the first leg brought together urban planners and industry leaders to collaborate with local officials on effective city planning and steps that will help ensure the positive “vision” as a map of what lies ahead.
With Metro Manila being one of the most urbanized and densely populated cities in the world, the livability of the future definitely seems like a long-overdue point of conversation.
National Museum of the Philippines’ Director Jeremy Barns grounded the discussion with a reminder of what puts Manila at the forefront of dreams for revitalization and progress. “Manila, as the center of the Filipino national consciousness and the Filipino universe, is the gateway to the Philippines, and from or through the Philippines, to the rest of Asia,” Barns presented.
From the Edge to Tomorrow
After key points like David Pitchford’s “Advancing Sydney’s Competitiveness Through Waterfront Renewal”, speakers touched upon other topics within interest of the goal to build a utopia for our descendants, begging the question “What now?”
The next steps begin today, as we speak, with the most crucial of changes at the hand of those who hold power and responsibility in the urbanscape. AECOM Asia Pacific President Sean Chiao stressed the importance of putting urban revitalization in our gears now, moving past the planning stage and laying down concrete steps today.
Imagine 2060 will use the most innovative minds in design and the most transformative heads in public policy, not only to gather data from the participating cities, but also push every individual in every metropolis to reimagine what the future might be. Eventually, the goal is to be able to seal in a city that will remain vital and resilient throughout the coming decades. As one of the event’s leading hosts, AECOM has prided itself in being an organization “built to deliver a better world”. Helping organizations and governments in over 150 countries, AECOM aims to propagate a certain sense of security among citizens by helping ensure that the future may not be so complex a struggle.
Today, we have the San Roque Multipurpose Dam in Northern Luzon as one of the tangible images of future-proofing, led by AECOM and their associates. On top of that, the Philippines has also been included in “Adapt Asia Pacific”, an initiative to facilitate climate-change adaptation projects for developing countries that lack resources and funds.
Creating global partnerships, instigating breakthrough ideations, and putting effective action into place, we have, indeed, entered a new phase in the modern world where we can deliver tomorrow’s cities together. That job cannot be accomplished by one organization alone. It’s a mission that needs to be embraced by communities from all over the country, and the time to start realizing this is now.