6.08.2007

forward thinking in naga city

Take time to read through Willy Priles' recent posts about the University of British Columbia (SCARP) urban planning research studio presentations in Naga City. The students were led by Dr. Leonora Angeles whose areas of specialty include (very aptly) participatory planning and governance and gender and international development.

I also did travelling studio classes when I was in grad school are they are win-win propositions all around. The students get hands-on, on the ground experience as well as exposure to different cities and cultures, while the host (and subject) cities get innovative ideas unvarnished by local political expediencies.

My favorite studio was in Wuhan, China under (then Dean) Peter Rowe. We considered and came up with proposals for the Wuhan master plan, in general, and the redevelopment along the Han River waterfront, in particular.

But I digress.

Of particular interest to me were the UBC team presentations on urban design and placemaking for the Naga CBD, and the presentation on land use and urban planning (subjects near and dear to my own heart).

Was pleased to see Curitiba and Surabaya cited as examples in the land use and transpo presentations. And was even more pleased that the discussion centered around smart growth.

Of course, I have my biases. It would be fantastic if Naga, which already leads the country in participative governance, could also lead the country in smart growth, a.k.a. -sustainable urban development.

Vancouver (in B.C.) also happens to be one of the leading lights in smart growth. (For people interested to learn more about smart growth, here are the 10 Principles, or you can download this pdf (140kb) that explains what it's all about.)

The UBC team also highlighted demand-led transportation strategies (i.e. -providing alternatives to car use, vs. the supply method of building more capacity to accomodate more cars) and discussed induced demand, something our own transportation and urban planners really need to hear.

The major component of the land use presentation was a proposal to create greenways throught the Naga CBD and out to the key nodes in the city. (See image.) And Willy reports that it had considerable reactions (both pro and con).

I think Naga should seriously consider greenways -but that these should be reshaped into pedestrian and bike and pedicab routes (hmm, expressways for the pedicabs?). They should also consider modelling the CBD segment of the greenway after Barcelona's La Rambla, which is more of a linear pedestrian mall and market. That way, they don't have to try to aggregate the street vendors into the existing public markets. (Trying to get street vendors into public markets has been tried and has failed countless times in countless cities. Witness the continuing battle for street space in Baclaran.)

I hope the biggest message Naga's leaders get from the UBC presentations is that participatory governance, charting the city's future, should also include envisioning the future physical and geographic configuration of their built environment. After all, people don't live in policies -but live in the physical consequences of those policies.

1 comment:

Rizaldy M. Manrique said...

Thanks for the info!

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