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Monday, June 26, 2017

What If We Practiced Urban Planning in Metro Manila

My topic for my students last term was on urbanisation and one aspect I concentrated on was urban planning.

I told my students that if you were Superman and could hover over L'Arc de Triomphe in Paris, you would see that 12 streets emanated from it, something you won't really notice when you're down on the arc, since you'd be dizzy from all the cars whizzing around you and of course, by the immense structure of the arc, which houses the tomb of an unknown soldier.
Furthermore, you won't see any skyscrapers in that area, as all buildings that tall were built in an area they call La Defense.
So I don't think you'd ever see a condominium development in front of the Eiffel Tower anytime soon - but here, the Manila government of Mayor Lim did not do their due diligence and allowed a condominium development to rise behind Jose Rizal's memorial.
That's how we revere our national hero. Walang urban planning, bara-bara na lang.
So I told my students, you could just imagine the political will of the French, not to allow any private developer to desecrate any of their important historical sites, something which unfortunately, many of our city mayors do not have.
Luma na? Gibain na! Gawing mall.
May open space? May park? Sementuhin na. Gawing mall.
So I told my students, by the time they reach 30, Metro Manila will have cemented all its open spaces and parks and turned them into big, humongous, boring malls.
By the way, the picture above is the Quezon Memorial Circle and its bevy of parks, way back when. Nowadays, at the rate the current local government is going, all that greenery will be gone in 20 years - and Quezon City will have no more 'lungs' and fresh air to breath.
God forbid, the UP Diliman administration of the future will also think of converting all of Diliman's open spaces into one nameless big mall into another.
It actually has begun already.......

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