Last October 15, 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center, the Liveable Cities Design Challenge held its Final Conference and Awards Ceremony. Attended by approximately 160 local government officials, national government representatives, officials of international development institutions, civil society, the academe, and the private sector, the Final Conference and Awards Ceremony celebrated the efforts of the 15 participating cities in the inaugural competition, particularly their design proposals that sought to mainstream liveability and resilience in land use planning and architectural design. Iloilo City was declared the winner of the APEC Meeting Venue category, among a list of finalists that included Legazpi City and Cebu City. For the City Government/Evacuation Center category, Cagayan de Oro City was recognized as the winner. The finalists for this category were Valenzuela City, Zamboanga City, and Roxas City. The other participating cities in the inaugural competition were the City of San Fernando, La Union, Olongapo City, Angeles City, Marikina City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Ormoc City, and Baybay City.
The National Competitiveness Council, together with the Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction (ASSURE), the Urban Land Institute, Asia Society Philippines, the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, and the World Wide Fund for Nature, along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Microsoft Philippines, launched the competition last March 2014 during the second annual meeting of the Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative. Given how typhoon Yolanda exposed the vulnerability of Philippine urban centers, and recognizing the need for cities to enhance their liveability, the competition sought to encourage city planners to plan and design with resilience in mind, while also addressing concerns for convenience, livelihood, lifestyle, sustainability, and safety.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Guillermo Luz, Private Sector Co-Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, provided the participants a short background about LCDC. He shared that the competition provided an opening for technical assistance with cities, which was spearheaded by the architect/planners of ASSURE. Mr. Luz also detailed the process of evaluating the entries of all participating cities, based not only on aesthetics and form, but equally important, the manner through which the entries mainstreamed principles of liveable, resilient, sustainable, and competitive urban growth. He said that, “the Philippines doesn’t need just one great city – it needs around 20 to 25.” Reflecting the overall motivation of the competition, Mr. Luz added that, “good design is not just about the aesthetic but the service to the people.”
In her message, Ms. Gloria Steele, Mission Director for the Philippines and the Pacific Islands, congratulated all of the participating cities for their efforts to come up with innovative designs. She recognized the hard work that all of the teams and shared the continuing commitment of USAID towards inclusive economic growth, especially given, “the strategic importance of Philippine cities”.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City receives the award for First Place for the APEC Meeting Venue category from Ms. Gloria Steele, USAID Mission Director. They are joined by Atty. Arnel Casanova of BCDA (third from right) and Mr. Carlos Rufino (extreme right)