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

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

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 $US14 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.

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.

BCDA Group

Source: The Inquirer


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

BCDA Group

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

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

BCDA Group

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

BCDA Group

Source: Reuters


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

BCDA Group

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

BCDA Group

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

BCDA Group

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

BCDA Group

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

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.

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

The vision for New Clark certainly sounds utopian.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

BCDA Group

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