burnham's manila

[note: minor change -the linked picture is now bigger]

Here's a treat for you manilaphiles and history buffs. An image of Daniel Burnham's 1905 plan for Manila. (I'll put a close-in detail picture in the next entry.) Burham was commissioned to create a masterplan for Manila (by then Governor General William Howard Taft if I'm not mistaken) in 1901 and he completed the commission in 1905.

So Burnham actually practiced on Manila before he tackled Chicago, San Francisco or DC. (Chicago pinoys i've met swear that Lakeshore Drive feels like Roxas Boulevard --well, now you know why.)

Notice the formal grid with the diagonal boulevards -which mark the City Beautiful Movement. DC denizens will recognize this pattern.

Parts of this plan were enacted (like Dewey/Roxas Boulevard and the Executive and Finance Buildings along with Manila City Hall) but the project was dropped post WWII. I know "what might have beens" are usually a waste of time, but imagine where we would be if we had followed the masterplan. (Chicago is still actually implementing parts of Burnham's Plan to this day.)

I've been visiting Carlos Celdran's and IvanM's sites lately. Both gentlemen offer very entertaining and educational historic walking tours of Manila. (I have friends who've taken the tour and think the world of them.) I think the work they do is invaluable in having our citizens re-frame how they view our home city.

Having a sense of the past can inspire us to re-imagine the future.


Ian said...

I am delighted to see someone enthusiastic about historical plans like this one. I had wish to be a historical buff myself, my father is he has lots of books about Manila, the World War II here in the country as such as Filipinana literature. I'm convinced that the government has not taken good care of historical sites in the country citing budget concerns and time constraints.

Anonymous said...

where did you get this map? I hope you could also give me one...

Urbano dela Cruz said...


email me and I'll send you a copy

XP said...

hi! could you please send me a copy of the old map in my email: christian28_87@yahoo.com? Please... Thanks =)

XP said...

I hope you could also give me a copy of this map... What's your email?

Matthew said...

I I am wondering if you would be so good as to consider sending me a photocopy of your Manila map? I am a sculptor and am thinking of making a sculpture of this. I can provide you with details of my website and work if you like



Urbano dela Cruz said...

xp, matthew,

send me email a urbanodelacruz at gmail.

I can send you high res scans.


arkista said...

hi der! I am an architecture student currently having a thesis.. Uhhm Burnham's Plan of Manila would really help me a lot. I just want to know where did u get the map and do you know where else I could get other information and details about the said Plan (just like those exhibited in Met Museum of Manila)? Thanks a lot..

El Nido said...

hi, i am also interested to get a copy of the map for our urban planning subject. please send it at guillermoraffy@gmail.com

would you know who owns it? so that we can properly get approval to have it cited in our school report. thanks.

Robert Tan said...

Hi. Very nice map. Would appreciate it if you could send me a hi res copy to my email. tanrob739 @yahoo.com Im fascinated with old maps. B. Rgds. Robert Tan

Jan Maverick Bautista said...

Hi, i just like to know where did you get that map because i'm also interested to get a copy for my research in urban planning and architecture in Manila. can i have a copy of a high resolution of it, please? just sent it at janmaverick.bautista@gmail.com I'll credit you and your blogs. thanks a lot

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