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PH can only compete with world’s best cities with advanced urban planning

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By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippines has a daunting task to face if it aspires to land on the list of well–established and most successful cities in the world, according to real estate services firm JLL.

Claro Cordero Jr., local director and head of research at JLL, said this as he cited the latest State of the Art of City indices by JLL and The Business of Cities, which benchmark and rank cities on almost every aspect of urban life.

The report measured various indices, including business and investor demand (17.6 percent), brand reputation and destination (15.0 percent), quality of life (13.0 percent), growth and jobs performance (9.8 percent), innovation and R&D (9.1 percent), sustainability and resilience (8.5 percent), infrastructure (5.9 percent), all-round studies (5.2 percent), Talent (5.2 percent), costs (4.6 percent), governance and smartness (3.3 percent), and finally, culture and diversity (2.9 percent).

These indices have a bearing on how city dynamics works, consequently guiding investors, businesses and workers as they make location choices.

The report points to cities which possess the ingredients for future success and help steer the real estate industry amid the changing urban landscape.

Cordero said that many of the requirements to be included in the list are the very same stumbling blocks that the Philippines has to hurdle.

At present, he said that there is a lack of urban planning designs in the country, a relatively low pace of infrastructure development, and there is little commitment to implement long-term plan towards sustainability and resiliency, given that most areas in the Philippines are prone to natural disasters.

“The new urban design of Philippine cities should incorporate advances in technology while preserving its heritage features to project a unique character and branding,” Cordero said.

He also stressed the need for the government to support creative infrastructure projects and future-proof urban designs.

At present, London and New York lead the pack of cities in the ‘Big Seven’ of the indices, followed by Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Rounding out the Top 7 is Seoul, which has equipped itself for the 21st century through a combination of modern infrastructure, innovative global firms and exceptional digital connectivity.

Other Asian cities which are considered strong contenders in the elite circle of the Big 7 are Beijing and Shanghai.

The ‘Big Seven’ and the majority of the ‘Contenders’ are also, simultaneously, regarded as among the world’s largest real estate investment destinations.

New York and London still get the top spots as investment hubs, along with Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris vying for the next positions. Other cities in Asia which have made it to the list are Shanghai, Seoul, and Beijing.

Moving forward, Cordero said there is still hope that cities in the Philippines will be included in the list of established cities.

Looking at the list of imperatives to become a successful city is the availability of talent, which, according to him, we have an abundance of.

“With an altered mind set among our young population and strong political will and commitment, we can create the cities that will be able to respond to the ever-changing urban landscape,” Cordero said.

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