Sometimes it gets awfully confusing trying to figure out how to describe or define Manila. As we get well into the third decade of this millennium however, it is becoming evident that we are entering an age of megacities or urban regions. While the cities of our world have defined the story of humanity over the last century, the megacities or urban regions of today will begin to dominate the story of our future.
We can no longer see Manila or even Metro Manila as the borders of our city. Defining or limiting policies and programs to its various component cities is futile. The second week of this current lockdown with its “NCR plus” designation shows just how far our megacity extends to. Mega Manila is one entity and one region that extends from Pampanga in the north to Batangas in the south.
In this megacity, we will find 25 million urban residents with another 7 million ex-urban residents living in rapidly urbanizing areas. This city of 32 million people would rank as the 45th most populous country in the world or 10th in Europe. Mega Manila is the second densest and second largest urban region in the world and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The development and governance of such an entity require planning and organizations way beyond the capacity of its individual cities. The lack of a coherent regional political framework means that major policies for the region need to be enacted or developed by the national government. Failure to do so creates imbalance and inefficiency, if not outright confusion and mismanagement.
As we begin to develop and reimagine our cities to face a “new normal,” the importance and value of good planning principles remain the same but become much more pronounced. We have begun to notice the inadequacies of our urban environment and will need to address this or risk creating unlivable conditions and extending the problems of Metro Manila to the greater region.
Exactly a year ago from today, we brought together a special group of people to help augment the capacity of our hospitals by building emergency quarantine facilities. This program was spearheaded by myself, Dr. Glenn Angeles and Maj. Carmelo Jaluague. We felt that the best way for us to help fight the pandemic was by making sure that the hospitals had enough room for everyone who needed it.
Our idea to build a few prototypes quickly evaporated as the events overtook us and we ended up building 75 facilities all over Mega Manila. We needed so many people to help build, organize and raise funds for this endeavor: Gen. Wilhelm Ilagan, Prim Paypon, Jason Ang, Dan Quiaoit, Banjo Badayos, Arvin Pangilinan, Jeffrey Cheah, Rebecca Plaza, Rommel Laquian, Denise De Castro, Danny Ko, Gene Go, Pauline Morales, Luca Arcari, Felipe Agustin, Eric Salanguit, Eric Tan, Kryzta Castillo, Arianna Rodriguez, Justin Wee Eng, Alyana Acacio, Benjee Mendoza, An Bermejo, Jason and Nikki Buensalido, Sonny Sunga, Arthur Austria, and over 400 other architects, soldiers, builders and vendors who came together to make the facilities happen. Through it all, we always thought to ourselves, if it takes an entire village, then let us begin by working together as a village, and together, we build as one…
…We are proposing the development of community street parks not just for our affluent neighborhoods, but for those who need it more. We seek to reclaim the streets for the people and help build stronger community bubbles by passively minimizing unnecessary travel and commute.
What does a community street park do? These parks provide immediately accessible open space. It increases the space available to people from sidewalks to whole streets. It provides the leisure spaces that they would travel to in their immediate vicinity. It passively lessens commute, mass gathering and alleviates intimate crowding. It is a hyperlocal passive solution to cross pollination between communities.
What is inside a community street park? Entertainment, playgrounds, trade, workshop, food and space to alleviate our vulnerable communities. The parks will provide entertainment with free internet and movies and free books from a library. It will provide non-tactile playgrounds for kids. There will be a trade hall for local vendors and a workshop to provide tools and teach crafts to augment incomes. It will provide garden patches to augment food supply. Most importantly, it will provide shaded open air seating space for people who need them.
Where can we put a community street park? We need these parks in tightly packed streets where informal settlements and low rise community housing cannot provide adequate space. Areas like Tondo in Manila or Pinyahan in Quezon City are prime candidates for a better urban environment.
Participants where made to group themselves into 3 person teams to solve a challenge prompt. WTA Architecture and Design Studio was represented by Senior Manager Arvin Pangilinan, who was grouped with Heidrun Milan of Heidrun Milan Design Studio, and Pia Ocampo of ReMaker Space. Their challenge focused on how to bridge the gap between architects, designers and educators with the local community. the challenge is to inspire better spaces for more local communities in terms of making cities and settlements inclusive, resilient and sustainable.
With using the compass as a framework, the team devised the Design Dialogue Kit ( D2 Kit) to inspire design solutions that responds to the needs of local communities. The kit acts as equipment for designers to spark continuous dialouge with the community thoughout the design process.
The D2 Notebook & Question Cards (also Open Source content that will be downloadable through the D2 website)
Some of the materials & tools you’ll need for the community engagement exercises found in the Notebook: ex., ribbon, giant pieces of paper, markers, blocks
The D2 backpack that gets you in the ”immersive traveler” frame of mind
D2 tsinelas! to make sure you walk in the shoes of your community.
The Design Dialouge kit shall be used as an immersive tool that explores, investigates and analyses situations between the designer and the community that can bring about creative and innovative solutions.
In the days and months to come, we will be faced with the reality that our cities lack outdoor public spaces. We need more open parks and pedestrian spaces, which allow us to live life as freely as possible in a much healthier environment.
Pedestrian mobility and much wider paths must be given priority. Streets should undergo pedestrianization. Living a short walk away from work must be encouraged. We need space to live. It’s not about putting up barriers but creating enough space to accommodate people. We should not subscribe to segregation and territoriality, but encourage openness and spread out utilization of public space.
The temporary street park gives people a better option. We give them more space to socially distance. As each barangay has one, there will be less traveling and mixing with other communities. Through this, we can better regulate social distancing rules while giving people the essential outdoor exposure with sunlight and fresh air.
Located in Pinyahan, QC, Magiliw is a residential street with a variety of informal commerce such as sari-sari stores and a barbershop.
Existing urban design conditions must be reevaluated to prioritize pedestrian mobility and social distancing measures.
The streets must respond and adapt to the new requirements and opportunities presented by the pandemic.
We must reimagine the street, tapping into both basic tenets of urban design and new ideas, to create healthy public space conditions.
A multi-dimensional street with a variety of activities for everyone. The different programs aim to introduce a new way of going to a park. They provide leisure activities in a safe space.
People should be able to reclaim their right to the city by democratizing access to urban life and resources.
Books are eternal, stories are passed down from one generation to the next, and stories are one of the greatest sources of creativity and invention. This makes libraries essential to the development of a more knowledgeable community and a critical and active citizenry. How are libraries relevant today? Are libraries front page news? How do we activate our public spaces and make people value them more? Should we reinvent the library or can the architecture be evolved to make them more suitable for today’s societies?
The Book Stop Project refocuses on the core program of a library as a place for books and reading, a space for human interaction, and a platform for learning. In place of a huge monolithic building with an extensive collection, The Book Stop is a network of mobile spaces spread across the city each with garnering far more foot traffic than the typical library. In a modern society where no library or bookstore can beat the collection of books that are available online, The Book Stop refrains from trying to reinvent the purpose of libraries. It instead works on rethinking the physical architecture and the distribution system of libraries, emphasizing casual serendipity and ease of access.
The project is a pop-up public library network that explores how libraries need to evolve to engage with and attract contemporary users and promote reading in the next generation, as well as galvanize communities by creating community events where people can interact and share ideas with each other. The project is intended to serve three distinct functions with a social component, a research component, and a program prototype component.
The project maps out various public spaces throughout the city that has a high volume of pedestrian traffic. It serves as a redistribution point for old books, allowing the open and free sharing or transfer of ideas from one person to another. It’s mobility allows it to be placed in the most underserved areas and allows it to reach a broader slice of the population. It moves from neighborhood to neighborhood mapping and responding to local issues and creates a platform for civic discussion and community development.
As a research tool, it serves as a data gathering center for the demand for public libraries in various neighborhoods. This allows planners and policy makers to determine where libraries can make the most impact and which communities can utilize them the most.
The Book Stop Project is a prototype that determines the role that libraries play in contemporary urban societies and the shape that they may take as society develops and grows. How have we changed in our interactions with libraries and what sort of network depth and breadth would be ideal for our cities? The project seeks to reinvent the place and space that a library embodies and not the platform itself which distributes books and encourages reading.
BE A PARTNER
Our cities and communities need the constant exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge in order to progress. If you share the same belief, help us make this vision a reality by becoming one of our partners.
In order to be fully operational, The Book Stop will require funding for the fabrication, operations and maintenance costs. You can be part of the initiative through a funding pledge.
We are looking for locations where we can install The Book Stop. If you think that your community will benefit from having a free public library on your location, you can join the project as our venue partner. This will entail that you will give us the permission to install one (1) unit of The Book Stop at your property for the duration of 1 phase (2 months), including the electricity provision.
BOOK COLLECTION PARTNERS
Want to share the joys of reading? Be our book collection partner. If you are a bookstore company, a local or international publisher, or a library with books to spare, you can pledge to continuously donate books for The Book Stop for the duration of 1 phase (2 months). The ideal collection for 3 library units per phase is at least 1000 books, across all genres and types, whether brand new or second hand.
We need help in letting the world know about The Book Stop. If you are interested in writing a feature about The Book Stop, we can give you credits as our media partner
For book donations, partnership benefits and terms, please contact Mr. Bruce Tyrone Te Ingat at 721-0418 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by our office at 224 Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, 1102 San Juan del Monte.
Manila is a vibrant and heavily congested city. Growth rate is constantly on the rise, temperatures are high and the city is densely populated. It lacks open public spaces and the streets are not pedestrian friendly which encourages the mall culture that segregate people according to their socio-economic class. The mall culture propagates disconnection and consumption.
The Green Matrix is an ecologically sustainable and flood resilient design which considers the heterogeneity and its role in maintaining biodiversity, storm water retention, micro-climate mitigation, and carbon sequestration. It encourages social interaction among all classes of people,this in turn would inspire citizens to equate civic beauty with pride, cultural cohesion and social equality.
Green Matrix ; an ecological system which grows and develops and extends through out the city. Linking and revitalizing all the disintegrated pieces of green open spaces left out in the heart of the city, connecting them to the existing park which extends to Manila Bay. Revitalizing all the strip from Arroceros forest park by Pasig River to Rizal Memorial, would highly impact the rise of value of all real-estate properties surrounding the strips. This example can be seen in different places around the world such as Central Park and High line in New York (USA), the property value that are directly next to active and passive recreational area have increased up to 33% compared to properties far from any recreational green areas.
Increasing the park’s vegetation by 20%, the bird community is expected to triple.
Storm water management; Vegetated buffer zones will harvest the rainwater along with storm water planters which will help in reducing the amount of water entering the system at once. Previous tiling will reduce the runoff by absorbing the water and recharging the water table below.
Sulong Maynila is a vision of Manila’s future developed under the Office of Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada together with WTA Architecture and Design Studio and Plaza + Partners. The project looks at the incredibly dense cityscape of Manila and focuses on 10 public sector initiatives to reinject a sense of growth and vitality into our city.
The vision proposes a refocusing of public sector projects in the most catalytic and substantial opportunities that can redevelop Manila’s touristic and historical image as the cultural heart of our nation. These 10 projects are game-changers and each one of them was chosen for their financial and immediate feasibility, as well as the impact they would have on both their locality and the city as a whole.
This video introduces the 10 initiatives and the redevelopment plans that we have developed for the city. They present to you our ideas for the future and shine a light on opportunities for us to build the future. Most importantly it shows us that Manila is not just the heritage and birthplace of our nation, but the future of every Filipino.
Collectively, The Sulong Maynila Urban Regeneration Plan has a synergistic effect in turning The City of Manila into the cultural and tourism heart of the nation. This proposal to renew and redefine Manila for the next generation seeks to strengthen and enrich our communities to create a healthier and more socially sustainable urban environment.
Check out the 6 points of Sulong Maynila under WTA Architecture and Design Studio!
The strength of Tondo comes from its people. The Tondo Community Redevelopment Project captures the town’s dynamic interactions and diverse activities into a 20,000 sqm mixed-use development. The project introduces copious green spaces to connect the community and to provide relief to the density of its vicinity. Divided into three clusters- learn, play and grow, the development stitches together Tondo’s programmatic composition into a vibrant mixed-use community. The ground floor is a mix of different programs for community development. The library functions as a node to the existing TESDA building and the proposed youth center and community hall. The last cluster is built for budding entrepreneurs. The start-up tiangge, commercial center, and hawker center share a public space. In the start-up tiangge, young entrepreneurs from Tondo can rent a stall and benefit from the traffic of the commercial and hawker centers. Similarly, local food vendors can rent a space in the Hawker center. Presenting a new way of living in Tondo, the housing towers benefit from the variety of retail, learning and community spaces below. Projected to house around 3,150 families, the development hopes to capture the strong sense of community that lives in Tondo.
A distinct cultural and arts district shall create a unique destination point in the Metropolis. This Arts and Culture District shall renew the existing institutions in the area by creating a gateway facility and providing complimentary lifestyle spaces as well as opening up the surrounding public grounds. The project seeks to redevelop the urban space of the entire district to rebrand it as an attractive and viable space for leisure and relaxation.
The intense mix of the area’s urban population shall be further diversified, creating a more cosmopolitan district where institutional, as well as commercial and transport facilities, converge. This unique urban situation shall allow for greater creativity and increased experiential exposure for the students, government workers, and commuters who pass through the site daily. It shall be an enriching and uplifting experience that allows for a better image of the city.
The district starts from Intramuros, crosses into the Post Office Building and the Metropolitan Theater, across from which will be the new Museum of Contemporary and Performing Arts which shall act as a gateway cultural institution rising on the site of the Park and Ride Building. The Museum shall open into the reopened Mehan garden which shall lead to the Bonifacio Shrine and the historic City Hall building. The Manila City Hall will be opened to the public and the courtyard shall have frontline government services as well as cafes. From there you can cross to the National Museum of Fine Arts before heading toward the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Museum of Natural History in Rizal Park. The park stretches all the way to Quirino Grandstand and Manila Ocean Park and to our beloved Manila Bay.
The project centers on 4 main interventions.
The creation of a Museum of Contemporary and Performing Arts shall act as a gateway to increase interest in the area among the youth.
The opening up of the Mehan Garden to the public allows us to stitch together the entire district from the Metropolitan Theater all the way to the historic Manila City Hall.
The city hall will relocate transactional services to the ground floor to create a transparent public service culture and the inner courtyard of the city hall will host cafes and other facilities.
A new public parking facility will accommodate the vehicles currently parked on the streets.
The Manila Arts and Culture District, together with the pedestrian links that shall be established to connect with the surrounding areas shall create an additional destination point for both foreign and domestic tourists. It adds a much needed third day to their itineraries, a walkable and thoroughly enriching destination that shall bring together the walled city of Intramuros and Rizal Park.
In a country of over a hundred million people, how can the government maintain connections to its people at a micro level? If there was a built symbol of our country’s democracy, it would be the barangay hall. Sulong Maynila believes that it represents the smallest administrative division, and reminds our community that every individual voice counts.
The barangay is distinctly Filipino. It revitalizes Manila’s vision to create a central civic core radially emanating on a gridiron pattern and large parks interconnected by parkways. The design integrates the patterns and purpose of the movement’s system in order to provide security, engagement, reconnection, landmark and surveillance.
Acting as a lantern and landmark, the illuminated barangay halls are modular in design. It has shifting walls, folded plates and a building envelope. It has three main sizes – the small, medium and large to serve different sized communities. In addition to being a symbolic and physical beacon of light for the communities, the reimagined barangay aims to reinstill conversation and connection between leaders and constituents.
Sulong Maynila proposes a baranagy hall for a wide scale site located near LRT 1, Central Station. It introduces a large module unit barangay hall with the capacity of 12 barangay officials and 15 local volunteers.
For an average scale site location, the master plan development locates a medium module unit barangay hall at P. de Guzman St. near the Quiapo Church. The barangay hall houses 15 barangay officials.
Located in Tondo Manila, the Sulong Maynila Barangay Hall introduces a
small unit module that accomodates 10 barangay officials.
What is Manila? How do we define this city that beats as the heart of our nation? This wellspring of Filipino culture from which we draw our identity and pride will always be the meter upon which we measure our future as a people. These 10 projects, Sulong Maynila under the Office of ManilaMayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada seek to act as catalysts in the redevelopment of Manila as the cultural heart of the Philippines.