Green design for less stress
CRAZY traffic, jumbled urban planning, and pollution in our cities will be the death of us. But not if a proposal for integrating low-income households in high- and middle-income areas would be considered by government planners and urban regulators. This would result in increased worker productivity, lesser commuter traffic, and faster delivery of goods and services.
The proposal was made by Mapúa professor and architect Albert S. Zambrano, when he spoke recently in the Senate about issues on justice and human rights, urban planning, housing, and resettlement.
Zambrano highlighted the importance of in-city housing and resettlement, urban integration, and how these could contribute to a more efficient distribution of resources and alleviate several factors that cause severe poverty such as high transport demand, pollution, and stress.
“Today, there’s a lot of construction going on,” said Zambrano. “What if for every building constructed, a corresponding portion of it would be dedicated to social housing? If we make it as a requirement, we can create a lot of social housing, if not within the same lot or property, then at least within the city itself.”
Social housing refers to affordable rental housing which may be owned and managed by the government, by a non-profit organization, or by a combination of the two with the aim to assist households with lower or modest incomes.
Zambrano said cities like New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, London, and Singapore are implementing social housing in their communities by enacting laws and policies that will provide affordable homes to those who have none.
Zambrano said he incorporated the vertical sidewalk-medium rise building in one of his recent projects, to complement the concept of urban planning and social housing in the country.
The structure aims to decrease household expenses and increase income-generating opportunities by using natural light and ventilation, having walls suitable for growing ‘pechay’ or spinach, and catching and recycling water during the rainy season. It was also designed to house micro, small, medium, and home-based enterprises.
“Green architecture, at the moment, is mostly implemented with projects for the upper 10% income bracket,” Zambrano said. “It will have an even greater impact if green architecture is applied for the other 90% lower-income bracket.
Zambrano said he is currently creating green designs together with students, “green designs that can be applied on a mass scale, that will have a bigger impact on the environment and society.”