Cities around the world worked hard to provide people with the infrastructure they need to thrive Many of which such as flood control projects, roads, viaducts, expressways, etc. are financed with huge funds to ensure that these will provide convenience and comfort to the taxpayers- where public funds emanate. However, some planners failed to execute the basic tenets and principles that infrastructure project should incorporate nature. As a result, these infrastructure projects, instead of providing environmental protection, have caused environmental disaster.
The absence of drainage canals in road concreting projects failed to consider that they should provide a facility for storm water to flow easily or else it will destroy the concrete road or it will cause the flooding in the residential areas and nearby communities.
It is about time to make it mandatory for a government agency to include drainage canals in all road concreting projects, or else we will face the sad fate of other poorly planned urban areas, some of which are now underwater.
This is true in some towns and cities in the Philippines, who failed to consider nature in their urban planning. The once bustling town of Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija province is now underwater. Hazard maps should have been disseminated long ago to at least guide our decision makers on the potential impact of the nature’s wrath and other climate change risks.
Urban development—if executed unsustainably and without thorough planning—is the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Population growth in cities makes infrastructure needs in urban areas particularly high and places enormous pressure on the environment. Climate change further exacerbates this impact.
Cities and urban areas in our country should push for the nature-based infrastructure that delivers cost-effective, climate-resilient infrastructure services and generates a wealth of co-benefits for the people, such as reduced air pollution and improved well-being. It also creates an enabling environment for other sustainable infrastructure. To maximize the benefits of nature-based infrastructure, the value of nature must be at the heart of urban infrastructure planning. These are sustainable urban infrastructure: urban green spaces, green roofs, stormwater infrastructure, wetlands, lakes and other nature-based infrastructures.
Nature-based infrastructure can provide several benefits such as flood, erosion, and runoff management, wave buffering, better water quality, recreation uses, wildlife habitat, opportunity for groundwater recharge, and aesthetic attractiveness, among others. The extent to which nature-based infrastructure features provide these benefits is partially dependent on the types of features used and the location.
Building with nature also supports investments in other sustainable infrastructure, such as mobility, water, and energy, by increasing their resilience and effectiveness. The academic and scientific community should come up with research and related studies so that the public will understand its value and quantify the benefits that these nature-based infrastructure provides and fully leverage nature’s contribution to sustainable cities in order to influence our leaders in decision making.
To maximize the benefits of these nature-based infrastructures, the worth and importance of nature must be at the heart of strategic, consultative, urban planning. Political leaders especially at the local level, planners, policy-makers, and budget holders need to use a systemic perspective to deepen the understanding on how to maximize the benefits of these nature-based infrastructures for sustainable cities. Sustainable cities require strategic urban infrastructure planning with nature at its core.