Modeling Settlements Development in the Philippines

Carmeli Marie Chaves1*, John Eustaquio2, and Anna Clara da Costa Marcall3

1School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Philippines Diliman
2School of Statistics, University of the Philippines Diliman
3Planning and Development Research Foundation


A settlements model is formulated to identify the drivers of urban growth in the Philippines and to predict suitable growth areas outside Metro Manila. Historical population changes and spatial distribution in the country between 1960 and 2015 are analyzed, and trends in settlements development are reviewed. Based on established literature, 18 predictor variables are included in the model. Nine variables are found to be significant determinants of urban growth, of which the top four are related to economic activity. Stochastic Frontier Analysis is conducted to model the relationship between the growth drivers and settlements expansion, which subsequently allows the identification of suitable growth areas. Predicting where growth will occur next enables planners and decision-makers to refine strategies and foster balanced regional development in the Philippines. In response to the persistent issues of urbanward migration and crowding in cities, the model offers tools to direct population movements and to plan cities that are resilient, especially against health shocks like pandemics.