the changing city

This from BWorld Online last week:

"After a decades-long wait, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) may be on the way to realizing its vision of becoming an Asian mecca for arts and culture as it prepares to bid out almost 60 hectares of land reclaimed from Manila Bay...

  • 57.8 hectares of land comprising most of the area declared by the Supreme Court as property of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

  • As currently planned, the area will be awarded to a single developer.

Apparently the NCCA held a design competition for the masterplan that had a top prize of Php 100,000.00, and the winners were supposed to have been announced last December 8. But I can't find any announcements either on the NCCA site nor the CCP site. Although the BWorld article says the masterplan was completed in 2003 by Planning Resources and Operations Systems, Inc.

From a two part report dated May 16, 2005, in the Manila Times Online, PROS is a division of Palafox and Associates, although their website does not list the CCP masterplan as a project.

If done right, this will create an northend anchor to Baywalk -and an honest to goodness public waterfront for the city. It will also have a huge multiplier effect on the Roxas Boulevard corridor.

The plan allocates 10% of the development to residential uses -"both transient and permanent" -which I assume means rental units will be included. Some 32% of the project area will be devoted to open space.

Part two of the report also quotes CCP President Nestor Jardin
“Though there are major thoroughfares in the area, we will have a public transport terminal that is accessible to all, meaning an egalitarian vision. Whether you’re rich or poor, you’re welcome, so public transport hubs are a must.”

Which will help as far as accessibility -but the area's main problem is the barrier of Roxas Boulevard which, because of the recent expansion of the roadway, is less pedestrian friendly. The CCP site is accessed through two east-west arteries - the north-end via Gil Puyat (Buendia), which has been obscured by the short-sighted flyover, and south-end via Vito Cruz -which is too narrow. Both of are also not particularly pedestrian friendly.

What would crown this effort would be a tram at surface level which would run the length of Roxas Boulevard - connecting Intramuros to the MRT/LRT hub at the Taft-EDSA intersection. Plus lateral line linking the site to the Makati CBD via Buendia.

According to MTimes article, the goals of the plan are:
  • Develop the CCP complex as a center for arts and culture in Asia and the centerpiece of artistic expression of the Filipino soul and spirit;

  • Maximize the income potentials of CCP’s real properties;

  • Encourage private-sector participation in the development of the CCP complex; and

  • Promote private and public activities in the CCP complex.

My hope is that CCP will make sure to include artists apartments -affordable units. It could really be interesting if they provided live-work housing for artists.

If anyone has anymore details about this, please email me.

(Two other major pieces of property soon to be developed will have huge multiplier effects: the MRT North Depot (North Triangle Business District) and Camp Crame/Camp Aguinaldo complexes.)

manila tees

Thanks to GUTS. GRIT. GUMPTION. for this lead on Team Manila Tees. Produced and designed by Graphic Designed Lifestyle. The website lists prices but no info on where to buy.

I'd really like to score the Urban Rail design. Any of my friends back home (you know who you are) want to track this down for me?


better late than never

Big thanks to vonjobi of the Filipino Librarian for joining this call.


leading change in metro manila

Harriet Tregoning, Executive Director of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, has adapted John Kotter's outline of how to lead change in organizations into a playbook for leading change in the built environment.

Hopefully we can use the playbook to channel our frustrations about the state of our metropolis into an actual movement committed to improving the quality of life in Metro Manila.

Here's the playbook:

  1. Communicate a sense of urgency

  2. You can only campaign for change if people understand why there is a need to change the status quo. I think this is the toughest challenge for Metro Manila. We all know what we don't like. We are all frustrated with the quality of life in the metropolis but none of the reasons stand out as urgent. A litany of what is wrong with the city is not enough. We have to identify the key issues and develop a message that outlines the broad consequences of failing to act on these issues.

    Is it the state of the environment? Pollution? Traffic? The Pasig? Laguna Lake? Quality of life? Housing? Competitiveness? -all of these are pressing and important issues. (The problem is that we have lived with these issues for so long we have been inured to their effects.) The crux lies is finding the key issues that will allow us to go to the next step which is to...

  3. Establish a broad guiding coalition

  4. The driving issues on the table must be powerful enough to bring all the stakeholders to the table. It has to be a strong, multi-sectoral coalition united on the issues. A special interest group will not do. Neither will a coalition of convenience do - not if it waters down the issues.

  5. Develop a vision for an alternative

  6. Disillusion and disatisfaction will not be enough to drive lasting change. The movement must also present a vision for an alternate future. To paraphrase Kennedy: It will not be enough to ask people to complain about what is wrong, we must also inspire them with a vision of what can be.

  7. Constantly communicate the new vision

  8. The work of evangelism is not the exclusive domain of churches. Or to put it another way, you have to infect people with the vision to bring it to reality.

  9. Engage leading local governments

  10. We won't get very far in our campaign for change if we remain outsiders throwing stones. We will have to earn a place at the table and be ready to engage the existing authorities. If we do our work well, the issues we champion will resonate with the electorate and will find their place in the platforms and debates of local candidates.

  11. Leverage catalytic projects

  12. Like I wrote in my previous post, nothing succeeds like success. Change does not always proceed via cataclysmic events. Lasting changes are built on incremental steps - success can build on success. We must find and leverage projects that will: 1) show what our vision looks like on the ground, and 2) allow people to use the success of the project to push for the same changes across the metropolis.

  13. Allow broad-based action by changing systems/structures

  14. The changes we push for hopefully empower people to create more innovation. Here's an example of a different way of doing things: the city of Porto Alegre (Brazil) pioneered direct citizen participation in allocating the municipal budget. It has not only revolutionized the way the city invests in capital projects, it has also created a culture of citizenship. (More on Porto Alegre in a succeeding post.)

  15. Generate short-term wins

  16. Cities do not change overnight. At best, changes can occur over 5 years. More substantive changes happen over 20-30 year cycles. To keep the coalition and the vision energized, the movement must identify and generate short term wins. Better sidewalks? Cleaner esteros? - The vision must be grounded on a strategy -and that strategy must have short-term wins as wayposts.

  17. Consolidate the gains and build on them

  18. See item #6 (above).

  19. Embed changes in the culture

  20. See item #7 (above). -- the end-game must be a culture of citizenship.

Image: Orrery mechanism of the Clock of the Long Now


Sydney Snoeck's last comment on my previous post deserves a post of its own.

Sydney says"

I agree that a lot of your politicians are not doing a good job (to say it diplomaticaly). But it also strikes me (as an outsider) that whatever is done in this country it is criticized.

The SM Mall of Asia is not good because it is a huge ugly box. I agree, but you find them everywhere in the world. Those ugly malls were not invented by Sy senior. He just imported the idea. In the meantime it is good for the economy (and of course for Sy's bank account)and there are additional positive (not only negative!) changes for the neighbourhood. (See what happened in Ortigas with MegaMall)

Ok, those Pasay lights are not beautiful. But beside those lamps (which I consider a detail), can't we find something positive to tell? Is this neighbourhood better than before? Are we moving in the right direction?

Do you remember (one year ago) the Plaza Calderon in front of the Binondo Church? There was a little park (?)full of squatters where the statue of Pipin is located. It was a scary place. Now they cleaned the whole Plaza Calderon. It is far from perfect and with the same money it could have been done in a better way. But it is MUCH MUCH better than before. Do I hear a voice of praise somewhere? (I don't think this was done to please foreign investors.)

What about Rizal avenue between Plaza Fair and Recto? Is this not better looking now?

What about some stretches along the Pasig river? Even the water seems a bit cleaner...

I came in Manila for the first time (as a short time visitor) in 1989 and I live here since mid 2003. And I saw many positive changes in this city and I really have the impression efforts are done to make this city a better place.

It is far from perfect. There is still so much to do but don't forget it is not a small city of 100.000 souls. You have more people in Manila than in the whole of Belgium (population of Belgium +-10 million)

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