Collaboration, banding together, innovative green materials and efficient construction technologies were among the ideas discussed in our “Designing Homes for the New Normal” webinar held on August 28 via Zoom call. 

SHDA governor RJ Ledesma masterfully moderated a spirited and provocative discussion between AECOM Architect Sylvester Wong, NEO Chair Raymond Rufino, and members of the country’s premiere housing industry group. With his international urban masterplanning background, Architect Wong touched on 5 key trends in urban development: the 15-minute city, the work from home trend, the “space is wellness” concept, modular construction methods and digital infrastructure. You can download his slides here   . These lessons, he said, are relevant for every development that we do. 


SHDA members, most of whom are small and medium developers, should take advantage of the SHDA network andband together  to get economies of scale by acting as a de facto collection of neighborhoods in any given area. This helps create a “15 minute city”, where residents have all their basic needs within a short walk. One developer provides a health care area, another provides space for a school, an area for groceries from another – bringing collective benefits to buyers and collective attractiveness and marketability to the developers.

Banding together also allows developers to take advantage of the group purchase agreements and supplier discounts available to SHDA members, a point brought up by SHDA Advisor Bansan Choa.

Banding together also allows SHDA members to harness the power of the private sector to create infrastructure and transportation solutions, the two biggest problems preventing decongestion of large city centers.  “There’s a lot of global impact capital looking for good projects,” said Architect Wong. 

“We are not alone, we do not develop in a vacuum” agreed developer RJ Ledesma. “In fact across all industries, it’s no longer about competition, but co-opetion and collaboration,” to address the numerous needs of the marketplace.

Active membership in SHDA also allows developers access to innovative sustainable materials and efficient construction technologies. “Designing for the new normal means creating healthy spaces using materials that, for example have low VOC content,” said Raymond Rufino, co-founder of the Philippine Green Business Council. The Phil GBC’s partnership with SHDA allows developer-members access to their directory of green suppliers at preferential rates. One such product is World Home Depot’s Conwood, a timber substitute with high recycled content that looks and feels like wood but has zero maintenance costs. SHDA Governor Kerwin Padua called it a “solution finder” for his low-cost Lynville Homes.

The meeting ended on a note of hope. “Cynicism is a luxury these days,” said Architect Wong. “We work with what we have and find a way to provide solutions.”

SHDA President Rosie Tsai-Wang ended the meeting in the SHDA spirit. “Meetings should agitate people and bring about change. There should be other ways of doing things, and we try to find those ways. Here at SHDA, let us know how we can help. We should work together, brick by brick, to rebuild our industry.”

You can catch a recording of the event on our FB page