Key Project Information

Funder

USAID

Period of Performance

-

Location

Philippines

ICMA's Role

The goal of the SURGE Project was for second-tier cities outside the urban core of Metro Manila to become economically thriving and resilient growth centers. SURGE assisted cities and adjacent areas to plan effectively, guarantee basic public services, reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, and support sustainable development.
Second-tier cities like Iloilo are expected to become engines of economic growth in the Philippines.

Project Details

The Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project was the flagship project of the USAID/Philippines’ Cities Development Initiative (CDI). The CDI is a “whole-of-Mission” approach that engages a strategic array of USAID activities with the primary goal of promoting broad-based and inclusive growth outside of Metro Manila through second-tier cities that can serve as engines of economic growth. 

The goal of the SURGE project was for second-tier cities outside the urban core of Metro Manila to become economically thriving and resilient growth centers. SURGE assisted cities and adjacent areas to plan effectively, guarantee basic public services, reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, and support sustainable development. The project worked within the existing legislation, regulations, and policies of the Government of the Philippines and through existing government agencies and departments with responsibility for local development—and involved stakeholders from each city government, the business community, local academic institutions, women’s organizations, and other civil society groups. By building the capacity of local governments to provide quality services with efficient management and oversight practices, SURGE envisioned that cities would become thriving and resilient centers where residents want to live, and businesses want to operate. Based on individualized competency-based city assessments, the project provided capacity development for a range of services in eight secondary cities including urban planning, business licensing, water and sanitation, public financial management, and land tenure.

In 2018, in response to a crisis resulting from armed conflict in Marawi City, the SURGE Project developed a package of assistance to support the Philippine government in rebuilding Marawi City and surrounding areas to 1) Improve access to water and sanitation in communities; 2) Create viable businesses and meaningful jobs for individuals displaced by conflict; and 3) Construct trading centers to jumpstart economic activities.

Woven throughout the design of capacity development activities were gender and social inclusion strategies, disaster risk reduction considerations, climate projections, and economic impacts. This whole of government approach at the city-level has increased administrative efficiencies, prioritized high impact projects, and communicated successes to increase the confidence of citizens in their government.

Featured Updates

The work of the SURGE Project is highlighted in the following articles:

Cities Rising: Philippine Regional Urban Centers in Focus

This collection of visual stories demonstrates the blending of Philippine urbanism and economic development at its finest – how citizens, led by dedicated visionary leaders, planners, scholars, entrepreneurs, living and working in the country’s fastest growing cities, shape and re-shape their urban ecosystem.

Learn more

USAID/SURGE at a glance

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