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Urban Planning Problems in the Philippines


After Manila was declared the second most devastated city in the world after the Second World War, there was none, not even one coherrent system enacted to built it up to its former glory. Historians, correct me if I am wrong, but in the matter by which every building sprouted like mushrooms, and how to this day Manila has been left to neglect with no real identifying picture except it's traffic --- I do understand it could have been any plan at all --- for if there was a plan then I have to say, me - the next-door usual personwith no engineering background but discovery channel shows --- it sucks. Perhaps there was one, but it's not coherrent enough?

It is no wonder thus, that a Nick Joaquin in each of us longs for a Manila long gone, or most old folks complain about our air, and the congestion, and the lack of proportion and balance, and lack of parks, among others...Perhaps even as there was an effort to rebuild --- it was all to rebuild only for the sake of utilization, and restoring the services.

beauty should be dulce et utile, and whenever an overpass or a flyover (a highway) is built with the idea that its sole purpose is to make people cross it ALONE, then I say we are a doomed culture if that's how we create things

You see, beauty should be dulce et utile, and whenever an overpass or a flyover (a highway) is built with the idea that its sole purpose is to make people cross it, then I say we are a doomed culture if that's how we create things: Pupuwede na yan, we say, same mediocrity of as long as it works, it's enough. Notice the following problems (oh how I love to enumerate):

Urban Planning in the Philippines would have been most wonderful if Burnham didn't die or Leandro Locsin for that matter - even when the latter admitted to the mistake he made in Roxas Boulevard --- re: CCP complex facing inwards instead of outward... Imagine how different Roxas Blvd is from the other streets of Metro Manila. See how much different Quezon Circle is and UP from the other parts of Manila. Answer: because in those limited parts, things were planned and every bit of building that rose was planned. If we can only do that, we'll all be very proud of our city, and our heritage.

In a way we are products of this city as this city is a product of what we are. Isn't it about time to make this connection less dysfunctional than ever?

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posted by Jdavies @ 8/28/2004,


At 7/08/2005 02:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree to what you have said. 

Posted by Anonymous

At 8/23/2005 01:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was googling urban planning in the Philippines and came across your blog entry. I know its a year late, but I hope you'll still entertain a comment.

I appreciate your urban design proposals for the metropolis. I do believe that apart from urban design considerations, the our city sufffers from more core problems in urban dynamics. (i.e. - housing and jobs balances, spatial distribution, urban road grid systems, public transportation issues) - all of which subvert whatever urban design approaches we may want to implement.

Of course, it is an chicken-and-egg question: does a pretty city make a working city or does a working city make a pretty city?

I think you also point to a need for a sense of place -an identity for the metropolis - which is, i agree, sadly lacking but I don't think uniformity would be the best approach. The most interesting cities are cities with layer upon layer of civilizations and styles and culture. (Re: Hausmann's Paris imposed on the city of the Kings, or Shanghai's Bund across from the Pudong).

Lastly, I can't quite understand your comment on Burnham admitting "to the mistake he made in Roxas Boulevard" -i.e CCP facing inwards instead of outwards - Burnham died in 1912 -way before the CCP or the reclamation area was even contemplated. (His 1901 plan for the Manila was only partially implemented as the Commonwealth government decided to spend the money they had saved for the plan on rural irrigation instead.) Perhaps you are referring to (national artist) Leandro V. Locsin?

Either way, it is good to have a conversation about the state of our metropolis and the scenarios for it's future.

Posted by urbanodelacruz

At 8/23/2005 03:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind comments Mr. de la Cruz. Your comment is most welcome despite being a year late. I sincerely believe a more scientific approach to city building is needed in this country and inputs from the likes of you are a welcome sight in a sea of apathetic citizens and contented metro manila residents. I urge people to fight for what is due them: a beautiful city that is devoid of any dysfunction.

Thank you for noting the mistake I made in quoting Burnham; you are indeed right that it is the late great Leandro Locsin that made those comments. The posts were edited thus from hence.  

Posted by jdavies

At 8/23/2005 06:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

may i invite you to visit and comment on my corner of the blogosphere ? I am trying to start a conversation on Philippine urban futures. 

Posted by urbanodelacruz

At 8/23/2005 08:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider it done. 

Posted by jdavies


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The Author


Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.

About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.


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