I’ve always had a love for the city. The city lights and the skylines exert a pretty strong pull on my soul. The diversity and character of its people, the myriad things and activities one can enjoy—for me, cities are about endless possibilities. I find myself lucky then to have been able to spend the last few months working on a better future for the city of Manila.
Manila is the most beautiful and most vibrant city in our country. Every neighborhood has its own identity, history, community and character. From Tondo to Chinatown, from Quiapo to Sta. Cruz, from Intramuros to Malate—every place tells its own story. Manila is a growing and thriving city with the energy and desire to achieve its aspirations.
Horizon Manila brings together my passions and ambitions for our people. I grew up in Tondo and I’ve always been fascinated by the life and vigor of its streets. I remember the distinct character of its streetscapes, the sights and sounds of Divisoria and Avenida, the traditions and culture exhibited in each procession and fiesta. I know the churches and plazas that define and anchor our communities. I walked our parks and zoos and visited the Planetarium and our museums. I watched my favorite movies in the theaters along Recto. I went to school here and remember the street life and energy and bustle of our shopfronts. All of these influences and imageries come together in this masterplan we have created.
A better city
We are reclaiming 419 hectares in three islands in Manila Bay and building the best city for 100,000 Manileños. JR Legaspi, the president of Horizon Manila, wanted it to be “different from just a typical masterplan and an opportunity to create a better city.” From this, we determined to build communities that can organically come together to become a city.
Any masterplan for Manila has to start with its people and communities. We are not designing a top-down regimented masterplan with homogenous landmarks and streetscapes. We are creating an organic collection of 28 diverse and compact mixed-use communities that reflect the identity and character of Manila.
The three islands are bisected by a canal park that acts as the center of life in Horizon. It recalls our roots as Tagalog people who settled along the banks of the Pasig River and acts as a green valley in the middle of the bustling city. This 4 km long canal, along with the two main dividing waterways and various reservoirs, will allow the city to be self-sufficient given the availability of freshwater.
Philippine Daily Inquirer publishes WTA Architect William Ti’s City of Tomorrow Column: Building better communities for Manileños. Click here to read more.