And Google Earth Philippines is back. Check out Baguio.
From a distance, we ask...'tang'na, why not? Learn about our nation, then dream up a better Philippines with Google Earth, SketchUp, and all things possible in the virtual. Render a bridge. Share lessons. Take/make a tour. Bridge investors with Pinoy producers and manufacturers. Questions, visions, delusions welcome.
And Google Earth Philippines is back. Check out Baguio.
Was about to post this on Google Earth Philippines, but PBWiki's down. If you've been having problems accessing the wiki for all the Google Earth markers we've compiled, PBWiki says we'll just have to wait for "a few hours".
below four opportunity sites at the confluence
of the pasig and the san juan rivers
|(Cross posted from Another Hundred Years Hence)|
So how do we reconnect to our bay, our lake and our rivers? How do we bring them back into our shared imaginations of our cities?
To do that, we have to celebrate our rivers, our lake and our bay. We have to celebrate them as places -and with places. Physical places where we can see and approach the water. Where the waters can reclaim their rightful place in our imagination.
Fortunately for us, waterfronts offer some of the easiest areas for redevelopment -specially in old industrial cities.
Cities all over the world have rediscovered and reinvested in their waterfronts. Check out False Creek in Vancouver, or London's Canary Wharf (also this), or Singapore's Boat Quay, or the Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge, Massachusetts -all of these were former decrepit industrial sites that were redeveloped by public and private funds, through the creation of innovative policy tools and investment vehicles.
We've started on that road somewhat -with Marikina's Riverbanks, and Manila's Baywalk. Hopefully, the expansion of Rockwell into the old Noah's Ark Sugar factory property and the old Colgate-Palmolive factory will incorporate riverfront access. So too, I hope, Ayala's redevelopment of the Sta. Ana racetrack.
If I had my druthers, I would turn the whole stretch of the pasig from the bay to the palace into a "riverwalk" -anchored on one end by the Intramuros and Fort Santiago and by Malacanang on the other -with the Arroceros Forest Park and a re-oriented Liwasang Bonifacio as gems in between. (Why hasn't anyone redeveloped Quiapo Ilalim?)
I looked through Google Earth and identified at least 14 brownfield opportunity sites along the Pasig - notably at it's confluences with the San Juan and the Marikina -that are ripe for redevelopment. (Apart from the the manila oil depot -which really should move out of the city.)
Four are right at in Sta. Ana and Sta. Mesa -on an interesting loop of land where the San Juan meets with the Pasig (see picture to the right). There are large swaths of land in Mandaluyong and Makati, along the banks of the Pasig near EDSA, and then even more right where the Marikina meets the Pasig. There are sites just east of C-5 and more south of Eastwood City (which, incidentally made the mistake of turning its back on the river.)
I do not know how productive these properties are currently, but they would be great to redevelop into mixed-use, commercial, business and residential properties. The concerned cities should reassemble these lands - invest in the demolition and remediation (clear up any toxic messes) -then create public-private reinvestment companies to redevelop the sites. The tradeoffs (in return for the public investment) should be that the redevelop sites should set aside the waterfront for publicly accesible parks or public open spaces and that a percentage of the residential development should be affordable housing.
I've posted the 14 sites I selected on Google Earth Philippines where you can download the kml file. Or you can view the sites via Google Maps.
"What about the pollution?" you say. "Have you smelled the Pasig?" - Well one of the things we've discovered about redeveloping waterfronts -of placing parks next to the water -is that it only increases awareness and concern for the state of the rivers and lakes. The redeveloped sites become valuable opportunities (and venues) for educating the public about water -and the role it plays in our lives. (See this project in Chengdu, China.)
The redeveloped sites could also be required to build in passive (or active) water treatment or bioremediation facilities such as living machines. (See also this example and this one.)
(If you spot other places for redevelopment, send your kml file to Google Earth Philippines.)
There are at least 5 roads in Metro Manila that I'd like to re-imagine and redesign, namely:
Here you have a typical strip commercial development. This image is from Hawaii but it could be Anywhere. This is clearly a car-oriented landscape with narrow sidewalks, a wide roadway and buildings set far back.
In this image, four key streetscape improvements have begun to change this to a pedestrian-oriented landscape.
- The sidewalks have been widened with landscape buffers to protect pedestrians from traffic;
- The buildings have been brought forward towards the sidewalk and retail has been added the first floors to create an interesting place for people to walk along;
- A bike lane has been added to the road to accommodate cyclists and provide another transportation choice;
- A median is included to reduce the perceived width of the road and facilitate pedestrian crossings.
On the far side of the street, they’ve added mid-rise residential buildings with more retail on the ground floor. This mix of uses promotes neighborhood activity at all hours of the day.
By adding trees and landscaping, the street becomes a pleasant, shady place to stroll. Also notice another building in the background has been added. Infill development helps to preserve urban centers.
This image shows an alternative way to create a human-scaled street. Here, the bike lane is separated from thru-traffic and brought in with a local circulation lane for shoppers. The retail is still pedestrian-oriented and the angled parking serves a buffer from traffic.I see no reason why we can't do this. And we can argue about the effects this will have on traffic.
(Cross posted from Another Hundred Years Hence)
...April 20, 2042. According to a KMZ we just uploaded at Google Earth Philippines, that's when a full solar eclipse will pass, best viewed from our own high-res rooftops. Kewl.
Here's something I'd like to see QC take on as a city project: a series of bus rapid transit / or tram (surface light rail) lines connecting employment and commercial centers in the city.
Karl Wozniak wrote in to point out some strange things about Google Earth's coverage of the Philippines. Karl writes: 'Please note the labeling of islands in the Romblon/Masbate area is not correct. Cuyo Island is in Palawan. Boracay is mislabeled. Romblon is not labeled properly. The whole area seems to be labeled wrong.'
So thanks to Erwin Oliva of INQ7 for that gracious article on Naga City, this blog, and Google Earth Philippines. I meant what I said about GE giving us the chance to picture the Philippines 'from a distance'.