BRINGING back farm lands to urban areas could make city living more resilient, especially after the pandemic, according to an urban expert.

In an Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) podcast, urban development expert Tsuyoshi Hashimoto said the concentration of high populations in a single city—a megacity has proven to be a challenge during the pandemic.

While this will lead to major changes in legal and institutional frameworks for land ownership, use, and transaction, Hashimoto said  this will improve city living.

“During the 20th century, many countries pursued economic efficiency based on rather extensive use of natural resources in rural areas to produce goods and services consumed in urban areas,” Hashimoto said.

“This 20th century development paradigm will have to shift to an alternative paradigm that takes both urban and rural areas together and both production and consumption together for more sensible use of resources as capital,” he added.

A new way to live in cities will also be supported by alternative work arrangements ushered in by Covid-19. Hashimoto said remote work and distance education and health services will allow the birth of what is called a “satoyama.”

“Traditional ‘satoyama’ in Japan provide a recreation area for residents nearby, seasonal food, and protection against disasters or a shelter during disasters. We conceive complementary relationships between urban and rural areas with new ‘satoyama,’” he said.

Earlier, UN-Habitat Philippines Country Programme Manager Christopher Rollo said rapid urbanization and urban land use has been a challenge to the housing sector in the Philippines.

The Philippines is now 51 percent urban and this is expected to increase to 60 percent in the next 20 years. This means urban land use growth will go faster at 1.5 percent more than the urban population.

This is compounded by climate change and natural disasters. In the Philippines, some 70 percent of cities are located along rivers and coastlines, making them vulnerable to flooding and typhoons.

Rollo said it is therefore crucial to strengthen community-level resilience where families and communities are involved in housing projects to ensure that their needs are addressed.

This will lead to faster construction and resolution of issues; better quality or materials and construction; transparent and accountable finance; high level of acceptability; and empowered and inclusive communities.





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