Fourth In A Series on Manila Bay Reclamation
Before we continue with Part Two of JP Fenix’s article on reclamation, I’d like to note a couple of articles that came out in the news today dispelling what it claims to be misinformation being spread on the Manila Bay Reclamation.
To anyone who seriously wants to be informed about the real issues, it really helps to look at both sides of the issue. Â The thing is, the group that is pushing for the reclamation project on Manila Bay has sought out people to explain how the project might impact people in Manila and component cities of Metro Manila. Â The briefing was apparently dismissed by vocal critics of the project outright and has basically asked others to shutter their minds against the project.
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What is worse is that they are actively spreading disinformation about the project which could mean jobs and livelihood for millions of Manilenyos as well as additional funds for Manila City’s government projects — that’s more money for social services.
On one hand, it looks like the group’s pro-environmental or pro-conservation stand on the issue looks good and well meaning. Â But it really offers no solution to the real problems confronting Manila and the component cities of the National Capital Region.
The real problems confronting Manila Bay is pollution and none of the so-called “Save Manila Bay” movement has been as vocal about pushing for crucial steps that will really save Manila Bay.
1. Hastening the building of a water treatment facility for all of Metro Manila.
2. Making buildings compliant with new regulations which require retrofitting buildings with water treatment and water recycling facilities.
3. Moving the Manila Container Port Terminal out of Manila Bay
4. Having all cities in NCR adopt a Zero Waste approach to solid waste management
What they are basically asking for people to do is to put on blinders just because the project goes against their sense of aesthetics and certain economic interests.
But enough of that for now, here is the second part of Fenix’s article on reclamation
Stephen Smith, writer on politics, economics and urbanism writes in Forbes Magazine: â€œSome of the worldâ€™s greatest cities are built on land that was once water. Many parts of lower Manhattan were water before the Dutch settled in New Amsterdam, but nobody would suggest giving Battery Park City back to the sea, or turning Bostonâ€™s Back Bay neighborhood back into an actual bay. Re-flooding Canal Street would be an unfortunate way of dealing with the Chinatown knock-offs, and Iâ€™m not sure how many New Yorkers would appreciate the loss of all real estate east of Water Street, which used to follow the edge of the island.
â€œPerhaps the most impressive example of urban land reclamation, though, was the infill of Tokyo Bay. NHK, Japanâ€™s public broadcaster, has created an awesome animation showing how Tokyo evolved during the Edo period, from the beginning of the eighteenth century until the end of the Tokugawa shogunate (and beginning of the Meiji Restoration) in 1868.
Much of the land was originally reclaimed for agricultural purposes, but has since been heavily urbanizedâ€¦ opposition to new land reclamation projects by people who revere places like lower Manhattan is pure status quo bias. If cities like New York and Tokyo built amazing places with land reclamation, why should we forsake it today?
Old, mummified European city cores in places like Amsterdam and Venice have chosen to retain their historic canals, but growing cities like New York and Hong Kong could not and cannot afford that luxury. Even the Dutch, who left Amsterdamâ€™s canals intact, embraced land reclamation right across the water, creating the fast-growing city of Almere.
â€œIn dense, dynamic cities like Hong Kong, there seems to be little downside to land reclamation. The amount of environmental destruction involved is minor when you consider how many people will be able to live and work on the land â€“ people who would otherwise be living in more sprawling, environmentally-profligate locales. Although this point seems to have been lost on the city-stateâ€™s environmentalists, who are against further development projects in Victoria Harbour.
â€œThat is, so long as the millionaire condo owners on the waterfront will tolerate the loss of their views. This may actually have been an issue in Hong Kong: unlike reclamation projects in Hong Kongâ€™s past, many of the sites currently under consideration are offshore islands.â€
The most basic advantage of land reclamation is the increase land area. With more land, more buildings and infrastructure can be built, and also for other reasons. Marina Bay in Singapore is the location of Integrated Resorts, financial centers and the Singapore Flyer, the giant iconic a ferris wheel. Also on reclaimed land is Changi Airport, /seaports and the East Coast Park with its recreation park, a man-made beach and housing.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reclaims both land and artificial islands including the Palm Islands, The World, The Universe and the island which the iconicsix-star hotel Burj al-Arab sits.
The Palm Islands, shaped like a palm tree, can be seen from space and is known as the largest man-made island. Not only has it increased Dubai’s land area, it has radically expanded its coastal perimeter as well . The Dubai Waterfront, situated beside Palm Jebel Ali, will be the largest waterfront and largest man-made development in the world. In all has a total reclaimed land area exceeding 15,000 hectares and the creation of some 1400km of water frontage, much of it sandy beaches and adding 72 kilometers of prime beachfront property to its natural coastline.
These centuries of reclamation has brought about the development of new and efficient technologies with minimum impact on the environment and maximum emphasis on safety. Gone are the days of dumping foreign land material into the sea. Engineers now have deep sea pumps that bring material up and onto the reclamation.
They now study historical weather, tide and current patterns and design their islands accordingly. On the shore of the island of the Burj Al-arab hotel are special concrete shields assembled like a honeycomb which disperses the force of oncoming waves rather than allowing the strong tides to slap and erode the shore. Plus the main foundation support of the hotel is actually as deep as the structureâ€™s height.
One can now literally create a brave new worldâ€¦ one of new opportunities that donâ€™t encroach on existing land resources. And that is cause for excitementâ€¦ and celebration.