Land banking for new towns and urban regeneration

I’m aware of the Land Bank of the Philippines but I’m not sure if the bank as its name implies is managing a land accounts ledger for the government. In any case, the country has quite a number of government agencies working on urban development and housing but I’m not aware of a national or local strategy for land banking. In Baguio City, the scenario is land bleed, to the point that nothing is set aside to accommodate future development.

Within ASEAN, Singapore and South Korea both do through State-owned agencies, Urban Redevelopment Authority, and a corporation, Korea Land & Housing.

Without land in good locations, the government is co-opted by the private sector in the shaping of the urban housing landscape hence who benefits from the development. Setting aside the issue of financing, the sector has beaten the local governments to prime locations. Or, the government has sold most if not all of its prime lots and ceded its right to recommend what to do with these lots to the private developers. (I think it’s Singapore’s URA that schedules regular meets with private developers to discuss with them what is best development – considering all classes of residents – for urban sites, as opposed to leaving the private sector to do what it wants to do with the purchased lots. Gentrification may not be altogether eliminated but with certain measures it can be mitigated or avoided.) What’s left with government is second-best which it uses as sites for socialized housing.

Second best sites for second class citizens – this is practically the message being sent out.

Below is the strategy of Korea Land & Housing Corp. for new towns, land development, and urban regeneration. Obviously, it cannot do these without ownership of land in good locations. Also, note the term ‘new towns’, isn’t it far better, definitely dignified, and promising than ‘resettlement areas’?

via Korea Land & Housing Corporation
via Korea Land & Housing Corporation

The private sector will build, but because it is running on profit – it’s lifeblood – it will build for those who can pay. This is old news. It’s economics. Now, it’s government’s responsibility, duty, to help balance things because government is neither for private sector or the poor alone, but for all, regardless of income class. It’s role in the scheme of things. So, yes, land banking.

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