The Philippines is planning a $14 billion ‘pollution-free’ city that will be larger than Manhattan

A rendering of New Clark, a planned city for the Philippines.

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A rendering of New Clark, a planned city for the Philippines.
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BCDA Group

Manila, the hyper-dense capital of The Philippines, is known for its traffic jams. In a 2016 survey, navigation company Waze ranked Manila as having the “worst traffic on Earth.”

The city’s reliance on cars also exacerbates its growing air-pollution problem.

As a possible solution to Manila’s smog and gridlock, the country plans to build an entirely new, more sustainable city called New Clark.

Plans for the $14 billion development – which will be larger than Manhattan – call for drones, driverless cars, technologies that will reduce buildings’ water and energy usage, a giant sports complex, and plenty of green space.

Take a look below.


Over the next three decades, the Philippines aims to build out New Clark about 75 miles outside Manila.

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BCDA Group

Source: CNBC


According to the development’s plan, the city will eventually stretch 36 square miles — a land area larger than Manhattan — and house up to 2 million people.

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BCDA Group

Source: The Inquirer


New Clark will be divided into five districts, each with a specific function: government, business, education, agriculture, and recreation.

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BCDA Group

While New Clark’s exact design is not fleshed out, developers say the urban plan will prioritize environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

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BCDA Group

With a minimum elevation of 184 feet above sea level, the city will likely not see much flooding.

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BCDA Group

To reduce carbon emissions, two-thirds of New Clark will be reserved for farmland, parks, and other green space.

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BCDA Group

Source: Reuters


The buildings will incorporate technologies that reduce energy and water usage.

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BCDA Group

Driverless cars, running on electric energy rather than CO2-emitting gas, will roam the streets.

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BCDA Group

Additionally, the city will feature a giant sports stadium and an agro-industrial park.

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BCDA Group

New Clark’s developers, BCDA Group and Surbana Jurong, plan to start construction in 2022.

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BCDA Group

The new city will serve as a “twin city” to Manila, alleviating congestion in the capital, Surbana Jurong CEO Heang Fine Wong told CNBC.

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People shop ahead of New Year celebrations at a street market in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines, December 29, 2017.
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Reuters

Source: CNBC


“You’ll gradually see Manila becoming a different type of city … and in New Clark City, you’ll see new technology companies coming through,” he said.

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A view of a busy street at the Mall of Asia Arena on November 27, 2014 in Manila, Philippines.
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Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

The vision for New Clark certainly sounds utopian.

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BCDA Group

But the ambitious plan faces several challenges, including persuading Manila residents to move there.

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A motorist drives past shanty houses along Legarda street on June 9, 2013 in Manila, Philippines.
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Getty Images

A new railway line could reduce the travel time between the two cities in half.

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BCDA Group

In late May, BCDA started the bidding process for companies to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain power and water systems in New Clark City.

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BCDA Group

Source: BCDA


The Philippines also struggles with economic development, and building an eco-city from scratch will come with a hefty price tag.

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BCDA Group

According to Wong, public-private partnerships will help finance the project.

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BCDA Group

In recent years, countries around the world — especially China — have unveiled plans for pie-in-the-sky urban developments.

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BCDA Group

A number of realized projects have failed to attract a significant population, and turned into ghost cities.

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Construction sites and vacant streets in Xiangluo Bay, a new biggest central business district under construction in Tianjin.
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Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Yujiapu and Xiangluo Bay, a metro area that was supposed to be known as “China’s Manhattan,” is half-built and largely empty.


Building cities from scratch rarely solve existing problems, but designing them can help urban planners imagine what’s possible.

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BCDA Group