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 .