Adapting Marikina River Park’s design for long-term sustainability

Marikina River Park is a relatively recent addition to the city, but the river itself has been the epicenter of the city’s identity from the beginning. Marikina City is the only city in Metro Manila that has access to 220 hectares of open space and a rehabilitated river.

Urban rehabilitation of Marikina River began in 1993, but has since reduced significant levels of pollution in the river and created a space for sports, recreation and leisure for residents and visitors. Marikina River Park boasts of extended bike lanes, jogging routes, a skating rink, tree-planting pockets, picnic areas, playgrounds, basketball courts, baseball fields, amphitheater and much more.

It has become a beacon for gathering for people in neighboring cities, with events like the annual Christmas Bazaar and New Year’s fireworks show that draw in hundreds of people. While Marikina River Park has received awards for their urban rehabilitation work, challenges still remain.

Key issues

  • Flooding and earthquakes: Marikina River Park is subject to regular flooding and occasional earthquakes and while existing prevention and response plans are effective, there is much to be explored in terms of urban resiliency.
  • Environmental impact from infrastructure development: There is a vital need to gauge and assess the park for flood mitigation (i.e. retaining walls) in order to accurately understand the effect of any potential redesign of the park.
  • Increasing usability of the park: Even with the plentiful amenities and features of the park, it is not optimized for use by residents or visitors. Is there a way to improve upon the park’s current design that better the overall experience and quality of life of its users?
  • Preserving and reaffirming the city’s identity: Marikina City’s history and identity is rich and deeply connected to the river. As the city moves forward, there needs to be a way that the park can represent the history and culture of the city for current and future generations of residents and visitors.

Key questions

  • In what ways can existing flooding and/or resiliency plans for Marikina River Park be improved holistically, for the long term and for people?
  • How can the park’s design be improved or adapted to increase usability for residents and visitors, while also engendering urban resiliency and preserving the park's identity?
  • How can the park become a vehicle for preserving the city’s rich history and identity for current and future generations?

This challenge is best suited for

  • Urban designer
  • Landscape architect
  • Hydraulic engineer
  • Specialists in assessing environmental impact
  • Cultural historians
  • Other

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