if you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Manila, The Noble and ever Loyal city.

A City of the people, not a city of the Automobiles

The worldwide Transportation Engineering trends in 1960’s to 1970’s is that designers give more priority to accommodating more vehicles into the road network and giving them also speed and freedom to drive far. Pedestrian needs are last thing road designers wanted. The trend is changing fast due to many ills the uncontrolled car growth brought. Sadly, Metro Manila is always late when it comes to these reforms in the transportation sector.

The road designs in Metro Manila is as always, biased towards the private vehicles. When a road gets too congested, we just add lanes but adding more lanes attracts more vehicles into the road. We can’t just construct or expand roads indefinitely. If we do this, the Metro might be a flyover city within 2 decades. Sometimes, planting strips and sidewalks are sacrificed to give these cars another lane to drive.

Architects, Engineers and Transportation planners, have long ceased to design roads for the people. Metro Manila is now a city of the Automobiles, not a city of the people

Walking is a way of life and one of the pillars of civilization, sadly in this fast paced world, our walking skills are gone. The banishment of the sidewalks and pedestrian priority might be contributing to the slow and painful death of this human skill: Human beings are one of the few mammals that could walk upright.

Some cities already reclaimed the roads from the cars to give them to the people: the real inhabitant of the city and yet they also prospered well without the need for speed.

It is the cars that divide the people in the society. Cars became a symbol of affluence, widening the gap between rich and poor. Cars contribute to the pollution, and the transport sector contribute more than the majority of the Air Pollution in the Philippines. Cars contribute to the urban eyesores we experience everyday, just count the trees, parks and open spaces and sidewalks that has been sacrificed in Metro Manila for the cars to move freely. Cars are a good thing, and too much of a good thing is bad.

The people must reclaim the city from the cars. It’s not phasing out the car in favor of better transport, but achieving a harmony between private transport, public transport, pedestrian transport and the environment. It is a must that Manilenos rediscover the joys of walking. By rediscovering the joys of walking and seeing the city with his own eyes, the Manileno rediscovers his city.

Fellow Architects and Engineers, remember that we design Cities for the people, not for the Automobiles. It is already a must that we design cities for the people.

- from urban history.

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