The Megacity of the Future (Part 1)
Last Sept. 28, 2023 I was invited by the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders' Association (CREBA) to be their keynote speaker during their National Convention & Housing Expo at the SMX Mall of Asia.
I would like to thank its national president Mr. Noel “Toti” M. Cariño for the kind invitation.
I was given the topic “Industry Vision for Megacities 2050.” The reference for the year 2050 was, of course, based on the projections made by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in 2018, that by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.
The report also said that this “gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90 percent of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa.”
The topic assigned to me was very timely not only because it is an urgent urbanization issue here in our country and the world but also because of the fact that we at the Villar Group just publicly launched my legacy project, a sort of a megacity, Villar City.
And so for my column, I would like to share to my dear readers the speech I delivered about this global problem and the promise of the future.
I have always fancied myself as a city boy with provincial sensibilities. I was born and raised in Tondo—right at the heart of the capital city of Manila—but I was nurtured by my parents into a simple life. I am a Tondo boy and with it comes all the contradictions of this once glorious district—living in a big city but living a small-town kind of life.
Tondo was once a kingdom along the banks of the Pasig river ruled by chieftains or lakans—the most famous of whom was Lakandula. It nurtured heroes who would later on fight oppressors and lead in the building of the nation we know today—Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and Macario Sakay to name a few.
It is a coastal district that is adjacent to the city piers and the port areas which until today continues to breathe life to Tondo. It is also the reason why it became center from which Chinese goods were traded all across Southeast Asia. And just like the history of human settlements all over the world, its commerce, thriving livelihood, culture attracted hordes of people from the provinces and became the area of settlement for people enchanted with the glamor and abundance of city life. Tondo was probably one of the first megacities. Well, not strictly speaking, but in the sense that it was a cosmopolitan city, a metropolis. It had a diverse population that included people from everywhere. It was a center of trade, commerce, and culture, with merchants and artisans plying their wares and exchanging ideas in bustling markets and workshops.