In April and May, the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD) Project team, comprised of UN-Habitat, HLURB, and DILG, conducted the first round of city mentoring on climate policy and urban design development with the five partner cities: Angeles, Cagayan de Oro, Legazpi, Ormoc, and Tagum.

While a climate policy review helped identify needed adjustments in support of climate-responsive local plans and zoning ordinances, mentoring focused on exploring resilience-building design measures in the cities’ proposed urban design project sites, considering climate projections, through four layers:

  • Water: to address flooding, water detention/retention to address water shortage and reflect on future waterway scenarios
  • Temperature: to enhance shade, ventilation, and greening considering solar orientation, wind patterns, and development patterns, as well as other heat minimization measures including reduced demand for energy
  • Connectivity: to link spaces, enhance social interaction, and improve mobility to reduce GHG emission from fuel-fed transport
  • Infrastructure: to reflect on possible climate-adaptive requirements for new development or redevelopment, zoning, retrofitting of existing infrastructure and overall built environment.

Headway was evident among the five cities’ urban design detailing, especially on appreciating climate-specific urban design tools. In Angeles City, there was a notable paradigm shift after the policy review and design exercises for their urban design project site, originally focused on the heritage district, went beyond the heritage district in order to strategize on citywide climate adaptation.

By involving various local offices and expertise to substantively inform the basis of the chosen urban design interventions, the exercises provided representatives from the different city offices a stronger sense of ownership towards their urban design proposals. They realized that despite the select project sites, urban design is meant to shore up adaptive capacity citywide.

“We all had a voice,” Timothy John Jimenez of the City Engineer’s Office said, “and were all able to contribute to the formulation of urban design strategies, given our different perspectives.”

“We used to struggle with how technical the workshops were,” remarked Mignette Henson of the City Planning and Development Office. “But looking at the work as a citywide strategy, it all clicked.”

These mentoring sessions prompted an intensive process where cities further detail their urban design proposals and citywide adaptation strategies, as well as craft their respective urban design guidelines for high-risk areas. These city experiences will inform the development of a national guide on climate-resilient urban planning and design to be launched when the project culminates.