OVER 4.4 billion people live in cities around the world. The World Bank forecasts this number to double by 2050, making 7 out of 10 people living in urban areas globally. This will have an impact on the economy, the environment and human welfare. Leaders and policymakers must pay attention to the need to address the delivery of basic services, infrastructure and housing, among many other things.

I am finishing a course in advanced environmental management at the University of Toronto. A big portion of the curriculum is focused on urban development and management. Most people associate the environment with nature, ecology and biodiversity. It's about time policymakers think of the environment that includes the urban ecosystem. Decisions made in the megacity of Metro Manila directly impact the natural environment surrounding the greater urban area and vice versa.

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