PROJECTLiving with Water: Hagonoy Master Plan

MUST is working on a new master plan for the town of Hagonoy in the Manila Bay, Philippines!

Photo: Angel Cruz

Last year we were approached by Vice Mayor Angel L. Cruz with the ambition of producing a new land use plan for Hagonoy, which incorporates water management as a structural element: the master plan Living with Water. In the past months we have been working with our partners, water management consultants Nelen & Schuurmans and the University of the Philippines, on a pre-feasibility study and future roadmap for the master plan.

Understanding the problem

Everyday life in Hagonoy is shaped by water. Tidal and fluvial floods, heavily worsened by the rapidly sinking land, are transforming deeply this stretch of coastline and the human activity alongside it. From the analysis it became clear that the water-related problems go well beyond the spatial realm, affecting all aspects of social and economic life. In order to respond to such a multi-layered challenge, the involvement of local and regional players from the beginning turned out to be a crucial element in the process. Despite the travel restrictions imposed by the covid-19 pandemic, we were able to engage with a large number of stakeholders, thanks to the exceptional support of our client.

Leading the transition

Facing the urgent problems is not the only scope of the master plan. The goal is to capture Hagonoy’s identity and help re-shaping it around a more sustainable relationship with water. The master plan Living with Water aims to put Hagonoy in a leading position within the Manila Bay in the transition process towards a resilient urban area. To envision this transition, we sketched a series of scenarios that open up future possibilities for Hagonoy. The scenarios will be the starting point in the long-term planning process and discussion with stakeholders, leading to the master plan.

Small steps towards a big plan

In the planning process, long-term strategies are coupled with small scale solutions, which can be tested in the short-term in Hagonoy. We identified a set of pilot projects that tackle key issues such as drinking water sourcing, drainage and mangrove restoration. The role of these pilot interventions is crucial in generating engagement and drawing attention to the plan from investors, local community and initiators.

In the coming months, we will keep you posted on the development of this exciting plan!

  • Veerle Simons
  • augustus 2020