Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) A Year Hence: DAtE

By Design Against the Elements (DAtE):

It takes only seconds to destroy what takes years to build.  Thousands of Filipinos learned this last year, when Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) took lives and homes.  Help reduce the painful cycle of environmental destruction and post-disaster reconstruction through design.  The best donation to a country at risk to the effects of climate change is not just financial aid, but ideas.  This year’s challenge is to prepare communities before the next disaster.

Design Against the Elements (DAtE) is a global competition to design sustainable and disaster-resilient communities for tropical urban environments.

The competition is divided into two categories.  The Open Category (Category 1) is open to registered and licensed architects worldwide.  The first prize winner for Category 1 will receive a $10,000 reward, and have his or her design built.  The Student Category (Category 2) is for current students of an architecture course worldwide.  The winner for Category 2 will receive $3,000.

The winning design will be built for an urban poor community in Taguig City, Philippines.  Taguig has been prominent in innovative practices in governance and social development.  In 2009, the city government sponsored a housing project for the poor based on a condominium paradigm.  The city is also the site of many housing projects and relocation settlements.  It is no stranger to the needs of its less privileged communities.  Taguig has also laid out plans for its strategic development, covering various concerns such as housing, road networks and infrastructure, the provision of utilities, and distribution of land use.  In this plan, Taguig acknowledges its geography and location as prone to flood, hence the need to provide various disaster control and mitigation mechanisms, including adaptation measures to deal with the problem.  Given its physical setting and the openness of the local government to support new methods of disaster control, the city is an ideal test and prototype location for a disaster-resistant eco-village.

The completed project will serve as a prototype for vulnerable communities around the world.  Too often, home-owners, architects, and policy-makers think of sustainable building as a luxury that only privileged landowners and advanced countries can afford.  Design Against the Elements considers green architecture as essential to survival; it has the ability to reduce the frequency and impact of environmental disasters and lessen the cycle of poverty.

As in all major efforts, it takes the time, effort, financial resources, and influence of many individuals, organizations, corporations, and government offices to make a project a success.  The Design Against the Elements initiative is driven by the following groups, and project partners are joining the group daily this include: City of Taguig, Climate Change Commission, MyShelter Foundation, United Architects of the Philippines, RP-United Nations White Helmets, Junior Chamber International (JCI), and National Geographic Channel.  San Miguel Properties, Inc, is the major sponsor of the Project.

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