Grant Programme for Architecture → Open Call
Urban Lab Philippines
Tacloban was one of the cities severely hit in 2013 by typhoon Yolanda. This typhoon was one the strongest tropical typhoons ever recorded and killed at least 6.300 people in the Philippines alone. The local government of Tacloban has, with support from UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Programme, organized several planning charrettes to brainstorm and discuss strategies for the spatial development of Tacloban, addressing emergency, recovery and long-term rehabilitation needs. The city is visited by on average of 20 typhoons a year, and 42 of the city’s 138 villages are classified as danger zones. Besides reconstruction issues, however, rapid urbanization also poses a great challenge to the country’s ability to achieve sustainable urban development. Urbanization in the Philippines is expected to increase from 50 per cent currently to 84 per cent by 2050. This growth is expected to happen not only in the capital city Manila, but mainly in small and intermediate cities such as Tacloban. The only way to obviate this growth by urban planning is to take the postdisaster and flooding context into account very carefully.
When the team arrived in Tacloban, it soon became clear that it was dealing with a post-relief-planning situation instead of post-disaster-planning: typhoon Yolanda and its aftermath had started a dynamic and elaborate rehabilitation planning process with many relief organizations providing financial and expert support, volunteers organising mapping marathons, and local government being invited to many planning workshops. The team immediately reformulated its original assignment: instead of designing rehabilitation and resettlement plans, it focused on giving advice on the comprehensive land-use planning process
and integrating the numerous constructed settlement sites and infrastructural works into an integrated and clear structural urban plan. The availability of extensive site data made it possible to make detailed specialist studies such as geo-hazard maps, land value analyses and space-syntax maps. The organic state of the planning process as well as the challenging economic and infrastructural situation on the ground required the team to work with adaptive and flexible planning procedures and principles that will allow Tacloban to continue the most positive development in the future. While writing this text the team is in Tacloban working on the final formation of the comprehensive land-use plan in collaboration with UN-Habitat and the City of Tacloban. In June the plans will be presented to Tacloban’s inhabitants in a public consultation.
Marieke Kums – Studio MAKS, studiomaks.nl
Neville Mars – MARS Architects, m-a-r-s.asia
Harmen van de Wal – Krill o.r.c.a., krill.nl
Christopher de Vries – Rademacher de Vries, rademacherdevries.com