People visit Chinatown in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Tupungato /

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.


Manila is a primate city with national and international significance. Unlike any other city in the Philippines, Manila has the mandate of serving not just its local constituents, but also a clientele of national and even global scale. Recognizing that the localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at sub-national levels is a key element in meeting the targets by 2030, it is important to look at how cities have been confronting local challenges relating to the development goals. Focusing on SDGs 3, 4 and 11, this city profile shows that Manila has performed reasonably well against key national and regional benchmarks on health, education and urban sustainability. However, as the city continues to lag behind many of its regional counterparts, key reforms must be undertaken in the areas of local policymaking, targeting of resources, scale of public participation and engagement of national government agencies. Heading into the first four years of the SDGs, the aim of this profile is to recognize and contextualize Manila’s existing urban conditions, best practices and pressing challenges—which would all have a significant implication on how Manila stands to attain SDGs 3, 4 and 11.

Gamboa, M. A. M., Rivera, R. R. B., & Reyes, M. R. D. (2019). City Profile: Manila, Philippines. Environment and Urbanization ASIA10(2), 331–358.