THE Interface Development Interventions (Idis) is undertaking a study that will map out potential urban green zones in Davao City to address the lack of green spaces.
The study, entitled Geo-Mapping and Developing Models for Proposed Urban Green Zones (UGZ) in Davao City, also aims "to provide development models to the local government to improve urban greenery situation in major urban zones of the city."
Idis environment research specialist Lemuel Manalo, during Friday's (May 3) Connect forum at SM Lanang Premier, said that creating green spaces seemed to have been neglected to give way to the rise of infrastructure development, land conversion, urban expansion triggered by growing population, among others, that led to the decrease of the wetland and natural forest.
"We don't want to follow Manila because from the environmental group in Manila, five percent na lang ang green space in Metro Manila. We want Davao City to remain as green as possible regardless of the ongoing demand and the rise of urban expansion," Manalo said.
He said the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended cities to have at least nine square meters of green space per person but in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), they require only two square meters of open space per person.
In Davao City, there are only 19 public parks, managed by the City Government covering 14.76 hectares for the city's growing number of 1.6 million residents living in over 145,000 hectares of land area.
But this figure is far from the standard of five square meters as compared to other countries.
The City's Comprehensive Development Plan (1996-2001) identified the lack of public parks and open recreational areas as one of the most serious problems.
Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan 2011-2022 (Clup) discussed several actions to address the problem. These actions included the development of at least one public open space into plaza/playground or Tree Park per barangay, development of open spaces in the subdivision as green parks based on HLURB Guidelines, and development of bay walks and parks in riverbanks.
"New York University-Marron Institute of Urban Management and Sustainable Davao Movement assessment of public parks revealed that Davao lacked accessible parks and there are potential private spaces that can be developed as privately-owned public accessible spaces," he said.
Once the study is done, Manalo said they plan to lobby it to the City Planning and Development Office and Davao City Environment and Natural Resources to convert the areas that have potential to be a public park and public recreational access that will benefit Dabawenyos.