Tacloban, January 30 2016 — It was the question posed to Tacloban City officials by an international team of urban planners during a recent mission organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Many would comment that the question is timely, considering the city is still undergoing reconstruction following the devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Haiyan). Nonetheless, the city continues to experience sustained urban growth and create both challenges and opportunities for its residents and the rest of the region.

The UN-Habitat mission was part of Urban Lab – a one-year global project to support the growth of inclusive, safe, sustainable and resilient cities. Aside from key discussions with city officials and field visits, a planning charrette was held where the Urban Lab team shared four models of city growth and development (pictured below):

Core: Developing the city’s downtown and historic core

Linear: Encouraging growth around corridors along the highways and the coastline

Patchwork: Connecting current patchwork of built-up areas and their relations to the open spaces in between them

New Town: Nurturing a core area in a new district of the city

How should cities grow models

To help operationalize each model, the team asked city representatives and workshop participants to consider these questions:

  • How does the model build resilience and reduce risk?
  • How does the model achieve fair and inclusive growth?
  • How does the model define a growth engine for the city’s future?
  • How does the model promote an infrastructure system that supports various scales?
  • How does the model fit within an actionable time frame?
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The design charrette enabled city representatives and key stakeholders to reflect on the best planning model for the city.

After considerable discussion and reflection on the local realities, the participants came to an emerging consensus – the city could adopt a hybrid approach. This approach, while combining useful elements of all four models, would be based on many considerations, including (but not limited to) existing elements of the urban landscape, proposed projects that when implemented will influence the direction and extent of the growth, as well as the phases of growth based on key scenarios. The approach also considered the need to balance the core historic area with a proposed urban expansion in the north, while at the same time fostering green space and transport corridors in the mid-section of the city.

The participants also reflected on issues of inclusivity. It was emphasized that lower income housing in the south is required to reduce displacement. On the other hand, housing schemes for people of various economic classes should be encouraged in the north to avoid stigmatization and encourage everyday interaction of people from different economic backgrounds. Furthermore, such inclusivity will also be reflected in the network of public spaces and streets that should permeate each settlement in the northern district.

The approach discussed at the charrette will feed into the reformulation of the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). Initial deliberations emphasized the importance of providing both narrative and illustrative inputs into the CLUP process.

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During the week-long mission, the UN-Habitat team conducted field visits to the east coast, downtown, midsection and northern districts of the city.

During the week-long mission, the UN-Habitat team conducted field visits to the east coast, downtown, midsection and northern districts of the city. The team also met with the City Mayor, as well as with members of the technical working group for the CLUP.

Reflecting on the discussions, Mayor Alfred Romualdez agreed that the city needs a tailor-fit plan that considers the local, regional and provincial complexities in ecology, population movement and economic development. He welcomed the continued technical inputs from the team as the city remains committed to the partnership with UN-Habitat that endures since the early onset of Haiyan.

The team also worked with city representatives to define the work plan of the year-long Urban Lab project in Tacloban City, and mapped out subsequent missions by the international team.

Urban Lab is directly related to the Achieving Sustainable Urban Development project currently being implemented by UN-Habitat Philippines in five cities (i.e., Iloilo, Silay, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, and Butuan).

The Urban Lab team will provide technical advice, planning methodologies and creative urban designs through field missions and office work to inform both the proposed planned city extension and the ongoing review and formulation of the CLUP. A participatory and people-centered approach in the planning process will be promoted.

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Participants of the design charrette held during the Urban Lab mission to Tacloban City.

 

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The Urban Lab team will analyse the vital connections between Tacloban City’s main urban area and the various settlements that are connected to it.

Tacloban City, 25 January 2016 — International experts from UN-Habitat’s Urban Lab team will conduct their first technical mission to Tacloban City from 26-29 January 2016, as part of the global project to support the growth of equitable, sustainable and resilient cities.

The overall objective of the one-year Urban Lab project in Tacloban City is to provide high level technical expertise in the design phase of a planned city extension (PCE). The activities will support the local government in creating inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable new neighbourhoods for Tacloban residents, and provide technical assistance in the development of the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

“In the spirit of our continuing partnership, we are delighted that Tacloban City will benefit from the expertise and capacity building activities made available through this project,” said Christopher Rollo, Country Programme Manager for the United Nations Human Settlement Programme in the Philippines (UN-Habitat Philippines).

“A city-wide spatial framework to emerge out of the CLUP will enable the city to transition from recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities to long-term, sustainable urban development projects,” added Rollo.

The Urban Lab team from UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi, along with local urban planners from UN-Habitat Philippines, will conduct the initial scoping mission. The mission focuses on determining the thematic issues that the team will address over the year and the kind of value-adding technical support required.

The team will meet with the Mayor, government officials and key stakeholders; conduct a site visit of Tacloban North; and hold a design charette with the city’s Technical Working Group.

Urban Lab is directly related to the Achieving Sustainable Urban Development project currently being implemented by UN-Habitat Philippines in four cities (i.e., Iloilo, Silay, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga).

At the same time, UN-Habitat Philippines is providing technical support to Tacloban City in the preparation of its Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP). This support is part of the Cities and Climate Change Initiative – a global programme being implemented in the Asia Pacific region. The LCCAP will build upon vulnerability assessments that the city has previously completed with the assistance of UN-Habitat following Typhoon Yolanda.

The Urban Lab project in Tacloban City will run until December 2016. Tacloban City is the only city in the Philippines included in this global project.

To strengthen the planning process, the larger ecological and developmental context (such as landscape and seascape shown above) will be analyzed to ensure the functioning of the city extension, downtown and other districts with the rest of the region.

To strengthen the planning process, the larger ecological and developmental context (such as landscape and seascape shown above) will be analyzed to ensure the functioning of the city extension, downtown and other districts with the rest of the region.

Background

Tacloban City is the regional center of its administrative region (Region VIII) and the fifth fastest growing city in the country. Among those cities and municipalities affected by Typhoon Yolanda, Tacloban City suffered the greatest damage to housing and settlements.

The total damages for Tacloban was estimated at about PHP7 billion, of which  PHP2.5 billion was in infrastructure, PHP726 million in the productive sectors, PHP3.4 billion in the social sector, and PHP361 million in other cross cutting sectors (data provided by the Office of Civil Defence).

Following the typhoon, the city developed the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (TRRP) with the assistance of UN-Habitat and other partners. In the TRRP, the city government identified the northern part of the city as a major site for resettlement and city extension. The selection of the north district was based on considerations on risks, vulnerabilities, zoning and settlement patterns, as well as regional growth directions.

UN-Habitat Philippines implemented other initiatives based on the TRRP, including a climate change vulnerability assessment, socioeconomic profiling at the household-level for select vulnerable barangays, production of geospatial data, demonstration projects on community livelihood, youth awareness activities and others.

Other projects of UN-Habitat Philippines include post-disaster community-driven housing in the city. All activities have proved timely, as they converge to support the review and preparations of the updated CLUP.

The Urban Lab team will provide technical advice, planning methodologies and creative urban designs through field missions and office work to inform both the proposed planned city extension and the ongoing review and formulation of the CLUP. A participatory and people-centered approach in the planning process will be promoted.

 

Remebering Haiyan event

Streets of Guiuan are ablaze with lit candles and torches in memory of those who perished in the storm.

Tacloban, November 8 2014 — Collaborative efforts between local government units, international and national organizations, and UN agencies held sway on November 8 to commemorate the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). UN-Habitat participated in the commemorative events in the cities of Ormoc, Roxas, and Tacloban and the municipalities of Estancia and Guiuan.

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The Guiuan Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan being presented by UN-Habitat.

The earliest activity kicked off at Guiuan, a municipality in Eastern Samar which was first hit along the super typhoon’s path.  The observance activities, which were dubbed “An Pagkamarig-on Han Mga Guiuananon” (the Resilience of the Guiuananons), started on November 3 with various workshops and contests on DRRM and CCA. The events culminated in the procession and solidarity night on November 7. After the town-wide procession, Guiuan residents converged to participate in the presentation of the Guiuan Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.

A candlelight path in memory of citizens that Tacloban lost to the storm

A candlelight path in memory of citizens that Tacloban lost to the storm.

The presentation was followed by cultural presentations on recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. The highlight of the solidarity night was the lighting ceremony at 2:30 am, when Guiuan residents lit candles and torches to represent the 118 casualties and missing caused by the deadly typhoon.

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UN-Habitat and other representatives from international and national organizations as well as the local government gathered in Ormoc to commemorate Haiyan’s first anniversary.

In the port city of Ormoc, people gathered at the city stage for prayers and a series of memorial ceremonies that included church bell ringing, blowing of horns, releasing of doves and white balloons, and the launch of a motorcade both in remembrance of the city’s departed and as a symbol of the city’s resilient spirit and hope.

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Employees of the BDO Foundation, which is funding a multipurpose center in the community of Milibili, Roxas City, volunteer in the center’s initial construction work.

Over on Panay Island, activities running from Estancia in Iloilo Province to several parts of Roxas City in Capiz Province included a photo exhibit by various humanitarian and development agencies documenting their post-Haiyan work, a volunteer day for the construction of a multipurpose center in one of the communities badly hit by the typhoon, and a turnover of a number of corehouses to beneficiary households as output of the ongoing Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements (a joint project of UN-Habitat, the Government of Japan, and several local government partners).

Message board in Tacloban

Taclobanons came out to express how they can contribute to make their city resilient, vibrant, and livable.

In Tacloban City, which carries the highest number of deaths from Haiyan, a commemorative walk from the city astrodome and through the city streets was followed by a candlelight memorial where thousands of candles were lit to cover over 10 kilometers in distance from the airport to the village of Nula Tula. In the afternoon, 500 commemorative sky lanterns were launched at the Balyuan Grounds, followed by a concert by the city’s bands and musicians and activities from several organizations’ booths.

A number of corehouses were handed over to their new owners as part of commemorative activities for the Haiyan anniversary. May families hope to be moving into their new homes by Christmas.

A number of corehouses were handed over to their new owners as part of commemorative activities for the Haiyan anniversary. May families hope to be moving into their new homes by Christmas.

Photo Pledge Photobooth: Pledges ranged anywhere from more general themes like “I promise to be strong and resilient” to more personal statements like “We promise to be good educators.” Photos: UN-Habitat

Photo Pledge Photobooth: Pledges ranged anywhere from more general themes like “I promise to be strong and resilient” to more personal statements like “We promise to be good educators.” Photos: UN-Habitat

Tacloban City — In the afternoon of October 23, 2014, droves of teens and young adults headed to the Balyuan Grounds in Tacloban City despite gray skies, puddled pavements, and light but steady rain for Kabataan: Kasugbong Ha Pag-uswag (Youth: Partners in Development) – a youth jam for safe and resilient cities.

The youth jam, organized by the city government in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNICEF, was a one-day series of activities designed for Tacloban’s youth to express themselves in terms of urban issues and needs relevant to them and what they felt empowered to do about these issues and needs.

Among the initial series of activities, which started around two in the afternoon, was Project DIY. Participants were told to bring old, worn-out items to be made over with a spread of various art and craft materials made available to them. Volunteer facilitators from Tacloban youth groups YHES and PYAP were at the ready to assist participants in painting and embellishing their old shoes, shirts, bags, and other knickknack just waiting for a new lease on life.

Sharing a tent with the Project DIY area was the Chika Muna Ball Pit.

Chika Muna Ball Pit: Tacloban’s youth easily overcame their shyness once discussions became emphatic and served as a lens to real issues that affected them. In a matter of minutes, a crowd had formed, excitedly waiting their turn at the ball pit.

Chika Muna Ball Pit: Tacloban’s youth easily overcame their shyness once discussions became emphatic and served as a lens to real issues that affected them. In a matter of minutes, a crowd had formed, excitedly waiting their turn at the ball pit.

“Chika muna” loosely translates to “let’s chat a while” and was a fun and casual way to engage the youth in a dialogue about questions and issues that the city’s youth groups themselves came up with, among which were the following:

What was your first greatest pleasure after Typhoon Haiyan? If you were a lawmaker, what law would you pass for the betterment of the family? What are top five things you wish you could do with your mother?

Some yards away under another tent, people were busily hunched over chalk and black board for the Photo Pledge Photobooth. People had their pictures taken – complete with wacky props and wigs – holding up black board signs on which they scribbled the small but personal efforts they promised to make for the betterment of their family, community, or city.

These tent activities went on until about four in the afternoon, after which a flash mob bust out of the crowd and started dancing to hiphop music throbbing from the sound system.

Inaugural mark on the freedom wall by Mayor Romualdez: “The children of the storm! The future is in your hands!”

Inaugural mark on the freedom wall by Mayor Romualdez: “The children of the storm! The future is in your hands!”

This signaled the start of the program and ABS-CBN’s Cholo Guy, the event’s emcee, urged people to start settling into the seats across the stage.

 

Mayor Alfred Romualdez, decked in a bright orange wind breaker, walked onto the stage sans umbrella to address the youth with a few words on resilience and the paradigm shift that was needed to thrive amid climate change. City councillor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez spoke next on the value and relevance of such youth-oriented events, stressing the youth’s role in securing Tacloban’s future. UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager Cristopher Rollo also took to the stage later on to discuss the youth’s role in resilience-building.

The most anticipated part of the event, however, was the unveiling of the freedom walls, where the event attendees were invited to grab a paint brush or marker and express themselves on the walls, guided by two fill-in-the-blank statements: “As a youth of Tacloban, what I need from my city is…” and “As a youth of Tacloban, I can help my city by…”

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The youth took to paint and markers to express their hopes and dreams for a resilient Tacloban.

Student bands and dance troupes performed as work on the walls continued well into the damp sunset, proving that the youth want to be more than bystanders in their city’s development, and that if given the opportunity, they would gladly make themselves heard, seen, and understood rain or shine.

 

 

 

 

 

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The event was capped well past sundown with musical and dance numbers from youth performance groups and “jammers”.

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Sectoral members of the Guiuan Recovery and Sustainable Development Group (GRSDG) review their outputs on the VAA, considering the updated hazard maps after super typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). Photo: UN-Habitat/P.Mejillano.

 

Manila, September 8 2014 — UN-Habitat’s Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (VAA) is being adopted by Tacloban City and the municipality of Guiuan as a methodology to structure the Climate and Disaster Risk Assessments (CDRA) which is a requirement for mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in land use planning.

Under the newly released supplemental guideline of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the CDRA is an integral part of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) that will ensure coverage and extensive analysis of spatial and sectoral developments addressing current and future risks and vulnerabilities of the LGU through risk sensitive zoning.

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The HLURB regional officer discussing the 12 steps of mainstreaming climate change and DRR into land use planning. Photo: UN-Habitat/L.Pelingon

Priscella Mejllano, CCCI National Coordinator, explains how the VAA can enhance the land use planning process. Photo: UN-Habitat/L.Pelingon.

Priscella Mejllano, CCCI National Coordinator, explains how the VAA can enhance the land use planning process. Photo: UN-Habitat/L.Pelingon.

Meanwhile, UN-Habitat also supported the Guiuan Recovery for Sustainable Development Group (GRSDG) last August 21 in updating their initial VAA to lead into preparing their CDRA. Considering Guiuan’s location in the province of Eastern Samar, and as a result of the initial VAA, Guiuan’s development are challenged with eight (8) hydromet and geologic hazards, such as flooding, storm surge, strong winds, increasing temperature in summer, increasing rainfall days in wet months, liquefaction, ground shaking, and tsunami.

In an orientation conducted by HLURB and fully supported by UN-Habitat last August 11 and 12, the Tacloban Recovery for Sustainable Group (TRSDG) expressed the need to pursue the initial work of UN-Habitat on the VAA and use such methodology in preparing the CDRA as basis for mainstreaming climate and disaster resilience into its CLUP. The work of UN-Habitat will cover technical assistance to Tacloban in collecting and analyzing climate and hazard information, scoping the potential impacts of disasters and climate change and organization of exposure database development and CCVA summary.

Laids Cea, CCCI Regional Coordinator, explains the convergence of climate change and DRR. Photo: UN-Habitat/P.Mejillano.

Laids Cea, CCCI Regional Coordinator, explains the convergence of climate change and DRR. Photo: UN-Habitat/P.Mejillano.

The Cities and Climate Change Initiative in Philippines, a UN-Habitat programme that supports local governments to more readily respond to the climatic threats, intends to enhance the planning process of Guiuan by plugging in the VAA to determine the extent of the municipality’s exposure to climate change and disasters, to determine sensitivities of the sectors, and to clearly define the municipality’s capacity to adapt to climate change.

In both LGUs, UN-Habitat support on data collection and analysis of potential impacts of disasters will be done through “learning by doing” and in-city coaching and mentoring. The outputs will be dovetailed by the city with the support of UNDP and the Climate Change Commission in processing the CDRA into full-blown CLUPs.

 

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Tacloban May 12 2014 — Laids Cea, UN-Habitat’s regional coordinator of the Cities and Climate Change Initiative, recently met with a group of journalists to discuss Tacloban’s rehabilitation and recovery plan and its push to develop a “resilient, vibrant, and livable” Tacloban.

See the full article on the Manila Standard Today: get homework answers

mayortaclobanTacloban, March 31 2014 — On March 21st, City Mayor of Tacloban, Mr. Alfred Romualdez, and UN-Habitat representatives revealed the first iteration of the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan to the general public. After several planning workshops, and consultation meetings co-chaired by UN-Habitat, stakeholders finally came up with a plan that envisions Tacloban as “a resilient, vibrant and livable city”.

Presenting to more than 2000 stakeholders from the business sector, academia, people’s organizations and other national and international humanitarian organizations, Mr. Romualdez said that he appreciates all the support provided by UN-Habitat, in addition to inputs from ARCADIS, and ASSURE, and funding from UNDP. The combined efforts have assisted in the development of the plan, which focuses on housing people in safer areas, requiring a city expansion.

For the immediate needs, the plan calls for more than 2200 temporary shelters for survivors that are still living in tents and evacuation centers. Around 40,000 housing units require repair and reconstruction, in addition to 4,800 temporary shelters for those living in makeshift houses. The medium-term plan calls for industrial development, tourism, and economic infrastructure development.

During the development of the proposed plan, the local government of Tacloban City, with support from UN-Habitat and UNDP, was organizing several planning charettes to brainstorm and discuss strategies for the spatial development of Tacloban in order to address emergency, recovery, and long term rehabilitation needs. Meetings were attended by representatives from the city government, national agencies, local and international humanitarian organizations operating in Tacloban, as well as urban planners and other technical professionals.

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After the presentation of the proposed recovery and rehabilitation plan, the floor was opened up to members of the public who had the opportunity to express their questions and concerns. The launch of the Facebook page for the Tacloban Recovery and Sustainable Development Group was also announced as a means for the public to continue the dialogue on Tacloban’s recovery.

The Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan will be followed by the revision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and will be incorporated into the National Government’s Rehabilitation Plan.

See related Facebook page: Tacloban Recovery and Sustainable Development Group

“It’s time to converge and think about a sustainable Tacloban.” – Laids Cea, UN-Habitat Project Coordinator

Tacloban, March 21 2014 — Today, the draft Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan will be presented to the public.  All stakeholders and those interested are invited to attend.  Details are as follows:

Venue: Tacloban Astrodome

Speakers: City Mayor Hon. Alfred Romualdez, local government officers from Tacloban, and UN Habitat

Expected attendees: National government representatives, humanitarian organizations, city and barangay officials,members of the private sector, academe, and Taclobanons in general

Special thanks to: ARCADIS and ASSURE groups for assisting in the development of the plan.  This project is also made possible by funding from UNDP.

We’ll be providing live updates, photos and tweets throughout the event. Stay tuned, and let’s start looking to the future, recovery, and sustainable development!

Click here to see our ongoing tweets and photos from the public forum via Storify

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Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

Borongan, March 17 2014 — Nine of 12 municipalities in Eastern Samar that were badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan prepared their initial plans for recovery and rehabilitation through orientation-workshops with technical support of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) under a joint programme with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

At the orientation workshop held in Borongan City in Eastern Samar from 18 – 20 February, most of the 12 municipalities were represented by their Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators (MPDCs) Officers, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Managmement, Social Welfare Development, and Health Officers. The Provincial Government of Eastern Samar was represented by different heads of offices of the province, with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO). Participating municipalities were the following: Hernani, Giporlos, Mercedes, Salcedo, Balangkayan, Gen. MacArthur, Llorente, Maydolong and Guiuan. Other badly damaged municipalities are Lawaan, Balangiga and Quinapondan.

Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

The contents of the recovery and rehabilitation planning were contextualized around four key result areas (KRAS): 1) social, 2) environment, 3) infrastructure and 4) land use, with good governance as the overarching principle. The KRAs are consistent with the rationalized local planning principles advocated by the Department of the Interior on Local Government on multi-sectoral, inclusive and participative local planning, including the associated RPS processes involved in recovery and rehabilitation planning.

The orientation workshop on recovery and rehabilitation planning generated initial outputs such as: 1) sectoral goals; 2) success indicators to achieve the goals; 3) programs/projects/policies; 4) key activities, and 5) timelines for implementation.

Guiuan, which had already undergone several of the activities in the planning process, worked further on updating and refining their outputs. The municipality also shared with other participants their experiences in rehabilitation planning.

The workshop served as initial UN-Habitat and UNDP support for recovery and rehabilitation planning for Eastern Samar.

See related article: A step towards recovery for Guiuan and Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s Recovery and Rehabilitation plan

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Tacloban, March 4 2014 — The second follow-up mission by the ARCADIS in partnership with UN-Habitat presented ideas for the rehabilitation of Tacloban City to the City Government. The presentation was a result of fieldwork and consultations with the city.

The team saw the need to provide appropriate coastal protection to the city, and proposed different protection measures for the various sections of the coast: soft dunes for the south, a hard levee for the airport area, a raised bay boulevard for the built up mid-section, and a mangrove forest for the north.

In terms of urban planning, the team proposed strategies for various areas of the city, anchored on the principle that business development and employment drives spatial development. The downtown was proposed to be revitalized by retaining it as a historic core, and developing the harbour for fishing and tourism while also encouraging expansion to safer areas through the development of a new central business district further inland, and a new employment zone in the north.

The Tacloban City Government with the support of UN-Habitat will be using the results of the mission as inputs for the Tacloban City Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.

See related article: Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan

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In addition to ARCADIS’ engagement in Tacloban, they also returned to Guiuan to address water supply, coastal protection, and the proposed permanent settlement site.

With the objective of establishing and mapping Guiuan’s sensitivity to extreme events, ARCADIS illustrated the impacts of Haiyan using a numerical model that simulates the supertyphoon, tracking varying wind and pressure fields over time and space. To further improve on the initial results of the simulation, ARCADIS conducted a coastal scan along the Leyte Gulf, from Tubabao down to Sulangan. The refined results would help in mapping Guiuan’s overall vulnerability to increasingly powerful typhoons and other hazards, and would serve as inputs to the review and updating of the municipality’s Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan.

Apart from the coastal scan, ARCADIS also looked into the rehabilitation of water lines, with more detailed assessment and sample costing, and further zoomed into the LGU’s proposed permanent settlement site in Barangay Tagporo, assessing several options for water pipe routing.