Adapt to environment, Cebu builders urged


Adapt to environment, Cebu builders urged


Posted 04 July 2011, by Candeze R. Mongaya, Inquirer News (Cebu Daily News),

A RENOWNED architect called on Cebu’s local government units (LGUs) to use “adaptive architecture” in their structures in order to mitigate flashfloods and other effects of climate change.

In a speech delivered in last week’s Environment Congress, architect Felino Palafox Jr. said LGUs around the country should adopt eco-friendly practices in the construction of their buildings in recognition of the changing temperature and rising water levels.

Palafox made the call as proponents of the recent Road Revolution will hold activities today to reiterate their appeal for road reform in Cebu City.

Palafox, a noted ecology advocate, said the environment should be the center of all human activities to sustain a healthy earth.

“The LGUs don’t have budgets for pedestrians and sidewalks, but they have a budget for beauty contests,” he said.

He said the LGUs should be at the forefront in implementing green architecture for their constituents.

Palafox said there is a new trend in architecture called “vertical urbanism” where pedestrian lanes, sidewalks and establishments are elevated.

“Our cities are not ready for disasters,” Palafox said, citing garbage filled sewers that are vulnerable to sudden rises in water level especially during heavy rains.

He said mass transportation should be encouraged to reduce carbon emissions and traffic.

Fewer vehicles would mean more time for pedestrians in the streets.

“We design our roads for automobiles and not for pedestrians,” Palafox said, referring to the current road system in the country.

He said many houses and establishments in the country don’t follow the required 20 meter easement zone from coastal areas and river banks.

For their part, Tara Rama of the Law of Nature Foundation said skaters would traverse the roads from Robinson’s mall to the Cebu City Sports Center to call for road closure  and road division.

The activity is in tandem with their appeal for the approval of a road reform petition they submitted to the Cebu City council last June 12.

The proposal sought an allocation of 30 percent of the road to pedestrians, 30 percent to bike riders, 30 percent to collective transportation and 10 percent to road gardens.

Last June 12, the 2.5 kilometer stretch of Osmena Blvd was closed from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m for the Road Revolution program which gave room for the city’s pedestrians and bicyclists to roam about freely in the area.

A solar, wind- and pedal-powered vehicle, the first in the country, was also used to transport pedestrians along Osmeña Boulevard.

The 18-foot vehicle reated by Cebuano engineer Bryan Yuson of the St James Academy can carry up to 10 passengers and has a capacity of one horsepower.  It runs at a slow 20 kilometers per hour.

Vince Cinches of the cited a report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) that recorded a drop in pollutants in Osmena Boulevard after it was closed to motor vehicles last June 12.

“Cebu city stakeholders including political leaders have high environmental awareness compared to other cities and municipalities,” Cinches said. /Reporter Candeze R. Mongaya


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