BUILD­ING op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Sun Star Cebu Yearbook - - CHAIRMAN -

CITIES may be brought low by their prob­lems, but they also would not soar with­out them.

The Amer­i­can ac­tivist Jane Ja­cobs, who pro­moted the idea of mixed- use devel­op­ment decades be­fore it be­came fash­ion­able, ob­served 45 years ago that cities de­velop be­cause new goods and ser­vices must be cre­ated to solve acute prac­ti­cal prob­lems. “This new work mul­ti­plies and di­ver­si­fies a city’s di­vi­sions of la­bor; cities de­velop be­cause of this process, not be­cause of events out­side them­selves,” Ja­cobs wrote in “The Econ­omy of Cities”.

When the men and women be­hind The Cebu Year­book first de­cided on the theme “Live High, Stay Grounded”, it was the rapid growth in Cebu’s real es­tate and con­struc­tion sec­tors that in­spired our plans for this pub­li­ca­tion’s 15th edi­tion. Our mood was cel­e­bra­tory, our out­look op­ti­mistic.

The nat­u­ral dis­as­ters that vis­ited our com­mu­ni­ties in late 2013 re­quired that we re­visit that theme to see whether it would still cap­ture the year’s defin­ing events.

The chal­lenges of pro­vid­ing houses and pub­lic spa­ces, re­build­ing liveli­hoods and lo­cal economies, are large. When it struck last Nov. 8, 2013, Yolanda ( in­ter­na­tional name: Haiyan) drove more than four mil­lion per­sons from their homes, and dam­aged or de­stroyed over P39 bil­lion worth of in­fra­struc­ture, crops and agri­cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties, by the na­tional dis­as­ter coun­cil’s reck­on­ing.

Yet the way to re­cov­ery also of­fers lessons that can help us build stronger house­holds and com­mu­ni­ties. In seek­ing so­lu­tions to the many prob­lems Yolanda left in its wake, we find, too, the op­por­tu­nity to show how re­silient the Filipinos can be; how quickly thou­sands of fam­i­lies re­fused to wal­low in mis­ery and in­stead fought to move for­ward. Our hopes re­main high, but our feet are firmly on the ground. Na­ture has re­minded us there is more to as­pire for than a jagged sky­line— among them, a swift re­cov­ery for those who are most vul­ner­a­ble, and cities that ex­pand in a sus­tain­able fash­ion.

ATTY. JE­SUS B. GAR­CIA JR. CHAIR­MAN OF THE BOARD SUN. STA R P U B L I S H I N G I N C .

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