1,000 friends of metro manila?

I just came back from from a national (US) conference of smart-growth/ anti-sprawl activitists. The conference represented a very broad coalition of organizations working on city issues - from anti-sprawl, to affordable housing, to transportation.

It inspired me/ made me wonder about what kind of coalition we can cobble together to create a citizens' forum to envision the future of metro manila. I need to get a clearer picture of what organizations actually work on urban related issues in Manila. Off the top of my head, I can only recall advocates for the urban poor (which represent housing advocacy), but don't know of any that talk about transport issues or density and development.


ivan man dy said...

Agreed agreed. Somehow, poverty always seems like the rallying cry of just about development work today (not that there's anything wrong with it) but it sidelines the other issues pertaining to urban development like aesthetics and improvement of the quality of life (for those not poor anyways)

Urbano dela Cruz said...

we do need to confront poverty head on since some 20-30% of metro manila's population lives below the poverty line.

but, we need to confront it in the context of spatial urban development. -c.f. the disastrous history or relocating urban poor to better housing in innacesible places (away from their means of income).

i don't know if we are aware of how much a bite transportation expenses take out of the budgets of our middle class and the poor. (my insider in the department of labor claims it hovers somewhere in the mid 20%s -but i haven't tracked down the stats.)

could we help households more if we made sure public transportation was fast and cheap? or if people could find affordable (rent or own) housing near where they work? will lifting rent control expand the affordable housing market and reduce our slums (and protect our heritage)?

will a network of green ways and bike trails make transportation cheaper (and healthier) for everyone?

we need to understand that quality of life means much more than concrete walls.

I like the way Penalosa put it:

"The affluent person goes to a large house, with a garden, has access to restaurants, to country houses, country clubs, sports clubs and vacations. The poor person and his/her children have a small room, practically only room to sleep, and no alternative for their leisure time if there is no public space. Therefore, in a democracy, the first place that money should go is quality sidewalks, parks and pedestrian streets. I cannot give luxury housing to everyone, but i can give quality sidewalks to everyone."

Anonymous said...

a very neglected aspect of improving urban living is the development of parks and similar public spaces. the lack of well-maintained, people-friendly public parks drives people to the malls. as megamalls sprout in quezon city, there is no accompanying public/government initiative to re-create a park worthy of a national capital. there are so many models to follow from abroad.

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