The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Meta-narratives of Phillippine Urbanism

28 November 2012

In September 2012 the DPU’s MSc Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) launched a ‘live’ case study project, “Meta-narratives of Philippine Urbanism”.

phillippine urbanism

Following on previous ‘live’ case studies, the project forms the basis of the BUDD studio module and has been developed in close collaboration with the Philippines Alliance network (Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, Technical Assistance Movement for People and the Environment, and Philippine Action for Community-led Shelter Initiatives).

Although the primary studio investigation will be run remotely from London, the original design briefs were developed by the Alliance network and communities in Manila, Iloilo, and Davao during a field research visit undertaken by William Hunter (BUDD Teaching Fellow) and Camillo Boano (BUDD Course Director), who will conduct the studio along with Caroline Newton (BUDD lecturer).

Through site visits and community meetings, a dialogue and working programme was agreed upon with the Alliance regarding the nature of the remote simulated investigation. It is intended that the research and output developed by the BUDD studio in London will be communicated to the alliance (through an online blog and periodic live online conferences) and that all considerations and proposal interventions are meant to be adoptable within many cross-cutting and specific levels by the Alliance and communities. 

Using the representative nuances of Manila, Iloilo, and Davao the agenda is to develop a holistic contextual analysis of urbanism in the Philippines, eventually leading to the formation and speculation on critical tactics and strategies that address a multitude of urban challenges facing the Alliance and communities they represent.

By exploring different scales and geographies of development, the studio investigation takes a stance on thinking beyond the mere form-driven objective nature of architecture and urban design. It is considered imperative for design and planning professionals, communities, organizations, and students to understand the value in perceiving a situation along diverse and opposing approaches that align with multiple elements of transformation (political, social, economic, cultural, creative).

To achieve an alternative and resistant vision of transformation, there arguably has to be a re-thinking in the processes of how this transformation unfolds. The ‘live’ studio project is built on this premise of this re-thinking on the process of design in development, not only for students, but also for the constituents that can benefit from a new perspective.