“Who is the most urban candidate?”

For Philippine cities especially the answer needs to be formed out of a good analysis of these questions posed by urban analyst Aaron M. Renn in his recent article What Would President Trump Mean For Cities? on urbanophile:

Who is the most urban candidate?

Which candidate’s personal interests are most aligned with urban success?

Baguio City is classified as a highly urbanized city (HUC) i.e. with at least 200,000 residents and PHP50M in annual income. Such definition is set in Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) which is limiting in as far as ‘highly urban’ really means. This observation has made the rounds among the country’s urban practitioners and analysts, in fact, was forwarded to the NSO for uptake. Why DILG has not made motions to review the law’s population- and Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)-based criteria is a disappointment.

In any case, Baguio City relative to Makati City also an HUC has the feel of provincial. Opportunities in highly urban experience are limited. Where in the world does one find an HUC that sleeps at 8 PM? where the chance of it’s young people experiencing world class art e.g. world class concerts is nil? where there is no theater (and I don’t mean cinemas)? where there are no “laboratories” to test innovative ideas? where people with writing talent die premature deaths because there are no organized activities e.g. residencies to nuture the talent? where retail choices even in the malls lack high street brands? where mall counters are empty of top beauty brands e.g. Estee Lauder, Benefit, Jo Malone? where majority of it’s CBD are swathed in darkness and filth? where dry earth fly about in central park? where rotting buildings are left to further rot? where roads and road maintenance are crap? In essence, “without an “urban lifestyle” then the urban infrastructure is of no particular importance and the city dies”.

An expat residing in Camp John Hay told me he rarely leaves the area because outside the Camp it’s like crazy shades of Third World. I laughed because while it’s painful to hear, it’s true. Philippine cities HUCs especially must model and lead the rest of the country in becoming First World.

Therefore, who among the Mayoral and legislature candidates possess the mindset for “creating (human settlements) for urban lifestyles that are global yet rooted in culture and heritage”?


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