UN-Habitat’s Urban Lab project begins in Tacloban City

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.


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.


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