Making sustainable, resilient communities accessible to all Filipinos SMDC at the forefront of Disaster Preparedness

Sustainable development and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are key concerns of today’s urban development driven by a heightened urgency to address the adverse impacts of climate change. A recent Colliers report delved into the significant demand for eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and disaster-resilient homes.

Resolute to address the ever-evolving needs of property seekers, SM Development Corporation (SMDC) understands that this is more than just a trend. Responsible real estate development will continue to become relevant, now and in the years to come. Leading property developer, SMDC, has developed many sustainable communities across the country and is committed to developing even more.

An integrated approach to property design

Every SMDC development curates live, work, and play environments to provide a holistic lifestyle for and promote the well-being of residents.

As SMDC’s very first township development in Paranaque City, Gold City is a world-class intra-city built to exemplify the true gold standard in modern living. Seamlessly integrating masterfully-designed living, leisure, and workspaces, Gold City consists of Gold Residences, Gold Residential-Offices, and an integrated retail development.

In a speech during the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2022,  Jessica Sy, Assistant Vice President – Business Development and Cluster Head at SMDC, emphasized the importance of building innovative and sustainable lifestyle communities that bring together commercial complexes, residential developments, schools, offices, hotels, and even event spaces.

“Our design philosophy is grounded in the idea of creating the perfect home and community Filipino’s aspire to own,” said Sy.

Soon-to-be-operational integrated monorail system will connect the corner of EDSA and Taft Avenue to J.W. Diokno Boulevard in Pasay City. In addition, it will be interoperable with various transport infrastructures, such as LRT-1, MRT-3, the EDSA Busway, and EDSA Greenways — all the more making properties in the Mall of Asia Complex attractive in terms of livability and investment.

To optimize social, economic, and environmental connectivity, SMDC locates its developments within key economic corridors and central business districts, and close to major transport infrastructure. The long stretch of EDSA, for example, is lined with SMDC developments that have easy access to thriving retail, commercial, and business districts.

Each SMDC community features hotel-like and resort-style facilities that serve the wellness of residents and foster social ties among them. To top up the conveniences, comforts, and safety enjoyed by residents, a commercial strip or retail complex is seamlessly integrated into every SMDC development.

Harnessing the power of a single vision

A true catalyst for nation-building, SMDC recognizes its responsibility as a private sector partner in the country’s thrust towards DRR.

The developer is a member of the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) — a network of private sector entities, led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), driven to support and implement the Sendai Framework. The Sendai Framework provides UN member states with actionable solutions to safeguard development gains from the risks of disaster.

As such, SMDC harnesses the power of public-private partnerships in creating sustainable communities and making the Philippines more resilient. In the master planning of its projects, SMDC ensures to employ of adaptation and mitigation practices geared towards safeguarding communities, as well as preventing and managing natural catastrophes.

Attention to the environment is the most apparent in SMDC’s disaster resilience plan. For one, their property designs are anchored on persistent efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as each SMDC community’s carbon footprint.

This is exemplified in the allotment of at least 20 percent and up to 60 percent of each development’s land area to open spaces. Landscaping and vegetation are well-maintained by SMDC’s property management team to reduce heat gain within each site.

Vine Residences, a gated mid-rise vertical community in Novaliches City, has dedicated a massive 52 percent of its total land area to open spaces. Likewise, portions of the structure are built on stilts and are suspended from the site’s soil grade — both to preserve the abundance of trees in the community and to act as a natural defense against flooding.

SMDC strictly complies with solid waste management, waste segregation, and correct onward disposal standards in all of its developments. Centralized sewage treatment plants or dedicated septic tanks are provided as appropriate, and materials recovery facilities are maximized to uphold recycling practices in the community.

Water and energy efficiencies are also key practices in SMDC’s communities. As an effort to conserve electricity, LED lights are installed. Living spaces and common areas are designed in a way that allows ample natural light and ventilation. Meanwhile, detention tanks regulate water outflow and help with flood control in the area.

Charm Residences in Cainta, Rizal boasts of a detention tank able to hold approximately 100,000 liters of water — a feature especially important in a flood-prone country like the Philippines.

“More than just building condominiums, we build communities of people. We are conduits of nation-building, and we create a positive impact on the lives of our residents and the broader community that we belong to,” Sy shared.

Women leaders for disaster risk reduction

One thing often overlooked in DRR is that disasters often exacerbate existing gender inequities. Studies show that women are more vulnerable during and after disasters due to limited access to education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities.

SMDC believes that empowering women to take an active role in DRR could not only help reduce their vulnerability to disasters and enhance their ability to cope but contribute to a more comprehensive and full-proof approach to DRR.

Jessica Sy believes that sustainable living should be accessible to more Filipinos, which is why SMDC continues to develop safe and secure master-planned communities that cater to middle-income families.

“There is no more ‘ceiling to break,’ so to speak, in our [SM] group of companies, as women leaders hold leadership roles and are in positions of power – even presidency.” Sy talked about how SMDC has several employee and community programs in place dedicated to women’s safety, well-being, and empowerment.

Through sustainability ingrained in the way they build communities, do business, and uphold their culture, SMDC hopes to be instrumental in the attainment of a future-proof, disaster-resilient nation.

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