Denmark’s ambitious project to create a floating “Silicon Valley” off the coast of Copenhagen which is expected to attract as many as 380 companies in the biotech, pharmaceutical and life sciences sector and create as many as 12,000 new jobs for the Danish people, has a counterpart here in the Philippines.
Announced last year, the Holmene project involves massive land-reclamation that would see the creation of nine new islands 10 kilometers south of Copenhagen, adding 3.1 million square meters of new land and 17 kilometers of new coastline in the area.
Bacoor City leaders view their proposed reclamation project as the local version of Denmark’s program, citing many similarities in terms of economic benefits and green features between Holmene and their own development plan.
Bacoor is seeking to reposition itself as a new growth center, comparable to the existing central business districts in the National Capital Region.
“The City of Bacoor is known to be the gateway and a bedroom community of Metro Manila. This proposed project aims to create a unique identity for Bacoor with well-planned, integrated and mixed-use development characteristics,” Bacoor said in its documents.
“It will also address some of the city’s need for extra residential and commercial land, as well as provide much-needed community, high-quality landscape and public open space to the people of Bacoor,” they added.
They noted that almost 73 percent of Bacoor’s total land area, estimated at 4,511 hectares, is already devoted to residential use. On the other hand, the city’s agri-fishery area has shrunk to only 6.1 percent of Bacoor’s total land area amid creeping urbanization and development of new subdivisions.
By building a waterfront central business district of mixed-use developments, Bacoor seeks to attract economic developments and provide adequate housing to support the future growth of the city.
Apart from mixed use development consisting of retail, entertainment, cultural and historic preservation area, the reclamation projects also intend to host a Science Park, which can help bring research and technology sector to the Bacoor Bay.
In addition, the projects would provide public green spaces and development that is large enough to become a tourist attraction. Consistent with the city government’s policy to encourage urban forestry, the developers will plant trees to enhance the green and sustainable development of the city.
Bacoor’s reclamation projects are expected to create about 700,000 new jobs not only for the city’s residents but to the entire province of Cavite and adjacent areas. The projects are also meant to attract new investments, create new business opportunities, and spur tourism in the city.
As for Holmene, its nine islands are likewise meant to play an important role in the area’s recreation and natural utility. Each island will be surrounded by a green belt, which the project’s architects, Urban Power, say will mean “attractive transitions between land and water”.
One of the islands will be home to Northern Europe’s largest waste-to-energy conversion plant, where bio-waste and waste water from the estimated 1.5 million residents of the Greater Copenhagen region will be turned into clean water and biogas.
The Holmene islands will adopt other green technologies, including windmills, which will contribute an estimated annual reduction of about 70,000 of CO2 emissions and produce 322,000 MWh of fossil-free energy, consistent with Denmark’s commitment to green energy and environmental concerns.
Similarly, the “Green and Blue Network” of the proposed Bacoor reclamation project prioritizes public green space for an environment-friendly and pedestrian-oriented development, thereby indirectly contributing to lesser CO2 emissions and cleaner air.
The design of the Bacoor project ensures the mangrove plantation in the city will continue to flourish.
The projects are also meant to serve as part of the coastal defense structures of the two cities. The Holmene islands are intended to help protect Copenhagen’s southern coastline against rising sea levels. Some of the earth will be used to build a dike around Avedore, the city’s lowest-lying area, increasing the coastal height at the edge from 3 meters to 5.5 meters.
To be built higher than the sea level and equipped with wave deflectors along its coast, the Bacoor reclamation project’s outer islands provide protection from the threat of storm surges or tsunami. In addition, its deep water channels connecting to Manila Bay will complement the anti-flood measure being implemented by the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Work on the Holmene project is expected to start by 2022 and completed by 2040. On the other hand, the Bacoor reclamation projects are expected to be completed within five years, including the documentation and application phase.