Philippine cities: the challenge of Quality of Life

Quality of life is not only what you find in the shops;
it’s about the landscape.

– Donald Tusk

This can stand as a city’s or metropolitan’s urban development strategy statement.

It’s weird to see malls, their inviting and perfumed interiors meticulously planned for maximum marketing effect, brim, from opening to closing times, with hyped-up faces, bright voices, eager hands (as they latch on good after good), and excited feet efficiently transported floor to floor on well oiled machines, yet, just outside, streets are potholed, dark, smelly, and people on them are generally zombie-like (exhausted from the day’s work and from anticipation of the torturous traffic ahead); plazas, hosting public awareness and such programmes (e.g. Concert At The Park) are devoid of or lacking in human attendance whose number is anything but enthusiastic.

And then we go write or read a book on how to be happy.

The vision for Metro Manila is


As a humane metropolis, Metropolitan Manila will become a livable and workable physical environment for all.

Humane. Liveable.

I’m sure the rest of Philippine cities have these non-material qualities in their vision statements, just differently-worded. This shows that we here do recognize it’s not all about shopping and the malls. But how? That’s the question Philippine cities are stuck with. They have to try again, recalling:

If standard of living is your number one objective, quality of life almost never improves. But if quality of life is your number one objective, standard of living invariably improves.

– Zig Ziglar


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