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I do believe that there are going to be positive changes because of the things we are learning in the midst of this pandemic. People’s behavior, more than anything, will change. After all, once you burn yourself, you tend to become more careful.

For example, people are more concerned about their health, they have become more interested in living in less congested areas that are closer to important establishments like hospitals, clinics, supermarkets, and so on. People are working smarter, too, since they realize it offers big benefits: less traffic, less exposure to air pollution, more time for loved ones, etc. And so they use their bikes to go around, for example, and get more exercise and more exposure to sunshine as a result.

As I mentioned before, more people are looking for living spaces with green and open spaces like terraces, gardens, or parks. They want easier access to places where they can bike, exercise, walk, or bring their children for play. They also want homes with good internet connectivity. People in Manila, for example, are buying properties in the north and south of the NCR. In general, people will always consider the possibility of having to live through another pandemic — and they want to be prepared in case this happens. 

Urban planning must now involve the creation of healthy, green spaces for the people. The government may work hand-in-hand with the private sector to give more attention to the needs of the community. In the long run, good urban planning lets everybody win. Hordes of visitors visit the Amalfi Coast, for example, or well-planned cities like Singapore because places like these allow people to bask in plenty of open and green spaces.

Just like the rest of the world, the Philippines also stands to gain much once it makes changes based on the lessons of the pandemic. It is good to see that the country is moving towards more sustainable ways of living. It is also interesting that more developers are now doing what my company, ItalPinas Development Corporation (IDC), has been doing from Day 1 of our operations, which is developing green buildings.

While it’s true that developers are in the business of building structures, the direction now is to build more thoughtfully and in consideration of the people’s need for green design and open areas. This is what people crave now, and so incorporating more green spaces will result in greater gains for developers in the long run. 

Just look at Canada, Singapore, or the North of Europe — their city planners have long ago understood the value of green and open spaces and so many of the cities in these places have long been considered as some of the most liveable cities in the world. Faster appreciation of real estate naturally follows good urban planning.

There is no doubt that the Philippines is a beautiful country. It has plenty of breathtaking natural resources that Filipinos should protect and preserve at all costs. There are so many astonishing places around the country and as a foreigner who has been living here for many years, I think it is the Philippines’ best asset. The government and every citizen are responsible for taking care of the environment. The rewards will go back to the people a hundredfold.

About Architect Romolo Nati

Romolo Valentino Benedetto Nati known as Romolo Nati or RVN, is a multi-awarded Italian architect and businessman with interest in sustainable development (energy and real estate). He is the current Executive Chairman and CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC), an Italian-Filipino real estate development firm that specializes in the design and development of sustainable buildings. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Philippine renewable energy company Constellation Energy Corporation (CEC) that focuses in acquiring, financing and developing small to medium-scale renewable energy projects across the Philippines. Follow Architect Nati on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. 

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