creating the quirino walkable district:
an urban planning sketch

(cross posted to Philippines Makeover)

Roby's original intent with the Philippines Makeover blog was to inspire people to use Google Earth and SketchUp to reimagine our cities. I am finally indulging him (and myself) with a sketch study on creating a walkable district using Quirino LRT station as the epicenter -with Quirino Avenue as the axis and the southern Malate district as the study area. I'd like to explore how we can improve this part of the city by making it more walkable -and hopefully, more livable.

Click on the image to the right to see a larger view of the study area. You can also see the area and the markers on Google Maps. If you prefer, you can download the kmz file for viewing on Google Earth.

Why the Quirino Station? I don't know. It seemed as good a choice as any but what appealed to me was its proximity to several urban amenities (the zoo, the bay, the sports center, remedios circle, leveriza children's park, etc.). The stretch of Quirino between Taft Avenue and Roxas Boulevard also presents some very interesting opportunity sites.

I am doing this urban planning sketch...

  1. as a thought experiment, to see what possibilities there are
  2. as a model/instigation to hopefully jumpstart other flights of imagination
  3. as a showcase of physical urban planning -to show what comes into play and into consideration when you plan an area (i.e. -the physical designs, the policy approaches and the community consensus building)
A blogpost is a limited medium when it comes to illustration so I will try to create a pdf version of each post complete with maps and diagrams.

So we start with the walking shed. A normal, healthy person can comfortably cover 1/4 of a mile during a 5 minute walk and 1/2 a mile during 10 minute walk. (The number is awkward when translated into kilometers -but if you want the figures: 5 minutes = 0.402336 km or 400+ meters; 10 minutes = 804672 km or 800+ meters.) That radius has been the basis for the design of neighborhoods since Clarence Stein and Henry Wright proposed the plan for Radburn, New Jersey. (If the Radburn plan looks familiar to you, whip out your Google Earth and navigate to Philamlife Subdivision. Philam as well as most of the QC Projects were patterned after the Radburn/Garden Cities template.)

The following landmarks are within a 10 minute walk radius of the Quirino LRT Station:
  • The bars in malate
  • The Remedios Circle
  • The San Andres Market
  • Malate Church
  • The Manila Zoo
  • The Leveriza Children's Park
  • Ospital ng Maynila
  • Harrison Plaza
  • The Rizal Sports Complex
  • DLSU, Benilde, St. Scho and PCU
and just a little further off:
  • The MET
  • Bangko Sentral
  • The Manila Yacht Club
  • The Army-Navy Club
  • UP Manila
  • PGH
  • NBI
  • The Supreme Court
  • Robinson's Malate
So you see, the walkshed has a lot of promise.

I'd like to fill up this map with as much data as I can and gather as many landmarks as I can place within the walkshed, so if you have the time and GoogleEarth skills, churn out markers on places / landmarks (restaurants, shops, offices, etc.) within the walkshed and send us the kmz files.

Digital copies of barangay maps of this district would also be very helpful.

Next up: opportunity sites within the walkshed.


mlq3 said...

the thing i wonder about, is, are there studies looking into what the walking radius is for people in tropical conditions? this is something i've wondered about when using public transportation overseas. why trycicles and tuk-tuks when someone using the bus and metro in london, paris or new york has no problem walking greater distances between stations and stops? seriously, i think the the heat reduces the distances people can walk to and from stops.

Urbano dela Cruz said...


I'm not aware of any comparative studies on walkability, maybe SURP or UST has some student research. If there are none, maybe we can lead the way by doing Whyte or Gehl style research in Manila -and share our findings with other tropical megacities.

tuk-tuks and tricycles are responding to a demand for short distance (tertiary) transport. I can't say whether that demand is born more out of climate considerations or a built-environment that is hostile to pedestrians.

I do know that good streetscape design creates good microclimates and can lower the temperature on the sidewalk by a good ten-degrees from the surrounding areas. Good urban plans also consider sun angles when laying out the street grid (and I know burnham considered this) -- I will do some shadow studies on Quirino Ave. in a later post.

We can also look at other parts of the our megacity that seem to encourage walking (despite the climate) such as this half kilometer arc from Palma Hall and CASAA or this a half kilometer radius from the PSE and Tower Onein Makati. You can't say the general climate is significantly different in UP and in the Makati CBD.

UP students walk daily from Palma Hall to many points in that arc (and beyond) and even on hot days you'll see people walking down the broad sidewalks of Ayala Avenue.

You can also look to Singapore and Hong Kong - cities in nearly the same latitudes as ours but with very walkable environments (and, unless i'm wrong -no tertiary transport.)

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