Besides being old, recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO, Vigan is a growing city. Despite obtaining the status of a city recently, it maintained the atmosphere of a village.
This brings me to another important aspect of sustainable city development, which I haven’t addressed sufficiently so far. I would like to discuss here the social aspect of sustainability.
Planet, Profit and People
Globally cities are growing. Villages are becoming cities, and cities become megacities. The world population grows and so does the need for housing, working, and living in general. Most opportunities are found in urbanised areas. So, the cities are growing, pushing their limits and increasing the urge for sustainable city development.
When we talk about sustainability we immediately think about ecology. Right! But, sustainability is more. True sustainability is a system or situation in which all 3, the ecologic, economic and social aspects are respected.
From Police Officer to Miss Philippine
Therefore, I like to mention Vigan again. One day when I am in Vigan, by coincidence it is the annual celebration day. Even though being a city now, it reminds me of the mentality of a village, where this kind of celebration bring all people of the village together. United. Together. Making part of the celebration, of the story of the village, of the community. Besides being eco-friendly, and living in economic good conditions, this is a crucial aspect as well, which we should not forget when building ‘the city of the future’.
Today all people of Vigan are standing in the streets. Whether they watch the procession passing by, whether they walk in it, or some even carry the variety of Maria and Jesus statues. They must have put a lot of work in them, carrying them proud, accompanied by music and dance. There are all kinds of groups showing what they’ve got, from police officer to Miss Philippines.
Water & Fire
After the big loop trough the village, they getter at the central square, leaving the Maria’s and Christs behind. Now it is time for the spectacle of the day. Everybody looks for a spot around the fountains. The singing fountains are a known scenery of Vigan, and to me they seem more beautiful than the ones of Kuala Lumpur even. But today the water is accompanied by another element of nature, fire!
After the fountains danced on the music, catching the attention and breath of all the people of the village, behind the water another variety of light lightens the sky. Fireworks spread around the sky of Vigan, including a flying bird who leaves a tale of firework behind.
It is about beloning to a story
I know fireworks are not sustainable, but what I can see hear is more than just the fountains and the fire, it is about bringing people together, creating the feeling of community, of belonging to the story of Vigan, to the group.
Be the Hero
When you feel like you are an actor in a story, rather than a listener, you will act more than standing passively aside. If you realise that this is your city, your country, your planet, and you feel part of it, feel responsible for it, then you will be more likely to step up for it, protect it, behave responsible and resilient and take care of it.
If you only would know that you are part of the story, as an active writer, rather than only as a reader, than you would understand how much power you have in you to really change what has to be changed.
You have the power to react
Everybody is a writer in some way, at least you write the storyline of your story. And as any hero that means that you might have to face challenges or overcome unforeseen situations which happened without your willpower, but you have the power to react, to choose how your story will continue.
How would you like to continue the story of your life? Of the planet? It is a matter of taking responsibility for your life, for your acts and for the planet around us. And it helps if we know we are not alone in this, together we can, we all belong to this story, we all play a role. It does matter.