Cities Alliance: Helping Cities Help Themselves


City of San Fernando, La Union: Botanical Garden City, a Healthy City, and a Springboard for Regional Progress
Iliolo City: The Growth Centre for Sustainable Business, Industry, Tourism, Social and Human Development…

These are just two of 63 vision statements formulated and implemented by as many cities across the Philippines as part of a strategic approach to urban planning and management, the City Development Strategy (CDS). In 1998, CDS 1: Preparatory Activities for the Expansion of CDS Programme in the Philippines was piloted in seven cities across the Philippines.

Three years later, 31 new cities joined phase 2 of the programme, the CDS 2: Upscaling Poverty-Focused CDS in the Philippines. By 2006, another 15 cities took part in phase 3, CDS 3: An Enabling Platform for Good Governance and Improving Service Delivery.

Today, the CDS is widely recognised as one of the most effective tools for strategic urban planning in the Philippines. Its flexible nature allows each city to identify unique challenges and development opportunities. Every city has its own long-term vision statement and a concrete plan of action against which progress is closely monitored. At every stage, stakeholders (including civil society, businesses, academia, local government officials and city residents) interact and exchange information and knowledge, making the CDS a truly participatory process.