San Juan: Smart City of the Future

Palafox Associates gears up for the Smart City: The Next Generation in Berlin, Germany to be held from May to July 2013. The San Juan City Plan, a collaboration of Palafox and the City Government of San Juan, is one of the 35 projects to be featured in the exhibition organized by the internationally well-known non-profit organization Aedes East - International Architecture Forum. Architect-Urban Planner Felino Palafox, Jr. will also take part in the panel discussion on the topic Smart Mobility. Nearly 100 entries were received all over the world and Palafox is the only Filipino firm in the roster.

The project, entitled Reshaping San Juan City: Planning Towards a Futire of Green Consciousness, aims to re-shape the city through the application of green architecture and green urbanism concepts, sustainable development principles and global best practices, and engage its citizens towards a green approach to city planning. The formulation of the Comprehensive Land Use and Zoning Plan (CLUP) was a smart project that saw green consciousness as the approach to the pressing issues of climate change and flooding.

Tha plan calls for a three-phased transit-engaged development: The first phase would be the development of the main level, which is the street level, with wider and more defined sidewalks for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit. The second phase, the upper level, will focus on the elevated and interconnected walkways for pedestrians, and the last phase will be the elevated and integrated monorails to be linked with the LRT and MRT. The plan also calls for the improvement of parking facilities in the city through a city-wide organized parking system. This plan hopes to alleviate the imbalance between jobs and housing, and thus address traffic congestion in the city.

Moreover, the plan does not just call for a better transit system, but also improved easements along the banks of the San Juan RIver and its creeks for pedestrians and as well as flood mitigating and adaptation measure. Palafox Associates created a flood overlay zoning map in order to provide the city government and council a blueprint for mitigation and adaptive architecture of which areas are liable to flooding. A flood overlay zoning map, in the long-term, will be a tool in creating policies, plans, and programs to save lives and property as a result of flooding in these areas. If San Juan City follows Palafox Associates' plan, the city will become a smart city by 2023. It will be walkable, bikable, livable, better-connected with public transit, a city that is safer, better-prepared for disasters, and better-lighted for mixed-income and cross-generational residents, integrating places to live, shop, dine, learn, worship, with healthcare and wellness centers, and 24-hour cycle activities center.

The official reception for this whole programme will take place on 07 June 2013. A symposium will accompany the exhibition project on 8-9 June 2013 at the Aedes Network Campus Berlin.