DAVAO CITY, Philippines — An environmentalist group here believed that expansion of parks and green spaces within highly urbanized cities like Davao City would be one of the solutions to the flooding problem.
In an interview with Davao Today, Lemuel Manalo, environmental research specialist at the Interface Development Interventions Inc. said putting up more green spaces such as parks ”is easier than maintaining the drainage systems”.
“It’s easier unlike permeable spaces. The water in hardscape pavements all go to the drainage system which, when it overflows, cause flood,” Manalo said Thursday.
He said public parks can also act as “rainwater basins” by excavating a portion of it to act as “water detention ponds” during rainy season and as an open green space during dry season.
IDIS said the government should opt to use permeable pavements where rainwater may penetrate.
The group urged the City Environment and Natural Resources to develop parks in flood prone areas in the city including Matina Crossing, Matina Pangi, Matina Aplaya, Langub, Magtuod, Maa and Talomo “to properly adopt sustainable and resilient plants that will aid in flood control.”
It lauded the city government though, for allocating three new areas to be developed as parks. During her first State of the City Address, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city has identified the Marfori area for a botanical garden, the Sta Ana Wharf for an open space for rest and recreational activities and the Agdao flyover for a minipark and a skate park.
But IDIS said “more can be done to make Davao City at par with the International Green Space Standards in terms of allocation and accessibility.”
“Davao City has the resources and is well capable to provide its residents, regardless of age, disability, class or gender, access to public parks and open spaces which are vital to health and well-being for us living in urban areas,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, IDIS executive director.
Citing a study which assessed Davao City’s public parks and open spaces by Patrick Lamson-Hall of the New York University, Peliño-Golle said more green and open spaces “lowers crime rates, lowers the levels of obesity, provides better general health, and lowers urban temperatures and high property values”.
The NYU study was conducted in May this year in partnership with the Sustainable Davao Movement. it revealed that the city ”is severely short of land for medium-sized public open spaces and completely lacks large regional parks which are valuable in interrupting the urban heat island effect and flood control”.
Parks in Matina Shrine Hills
The group proposed that the government can turn large portions of the Shrine Hills in Matina here as “a massive urban park” similar to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London.
Manalo said the Shrine Hills area, ”is prone to flooding and landslides” and would be “totally inappropriate for residential development but could become a vital urban amenity to provide environmental services”
”If government can put up a park in the 222 hectares under ecological enhancement sub-zone will lessen the risk of triggering landslides,” he added. (davaotoday.com)