Is fanciful ‘City of Pearl’ scheme for real?

City of Pearl.jpeg

The South China Morning Post is uncritically crowing about a Hong Kong architect’s supposed winning bid to design the massive and much-ballyhooed “City of Pearl” reclamation scheme in Manila Bay.

Sorry, but one glance at this glittering concoction begs the obvious question:  Can this shit possibly be for real?

Could a massive project built on to-be-reclaimed land at the mouth of a flowing river possibly support a forest of giant skyscrapers?

Or is this just a massive dredging boondoggle destined to become the New Baseco squatter slum for the next generation?

Would it affect the bay’s circulation, or the river’s flow? Or shipping?

And how would infrastructure like fresh water, sewers, and electricity be incorporated?

Where, exactly, is the money coming from?

What could possibly go wrong?

It wasn’t that long ago that the sprawling Baseco compound was just a breakwater jutting out into the bay.  Somehow, without any real planning, it became an enormous reclamation site and squatter swamp, although it’s been spruced up a bit in recent years, but not by much.

Well, Digong and Erap have reportedly given the green light for the China-bankrolled City of Pearl project, but there has been virtually no serious reporting on the issue, so it’s hard to tell what to make of it all.

Meanwhile, the trade press and propaganda machine have been chirping along about the project, announcing that reclamation work is supposed to begin next month.  The Toady Press is on board too.

If reclamation work is really about to begin, isn’t it high time the lazy and vapid Manila media got off its collective duff and took a hard look at this?

How does such a potentially massive project even get this far along without any credible public scrutiny?  Have we learned nothing from the Torre de Manila fiasco, the Manila Film Center, or all the others?

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