"Development" at its "Finest"
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"Development" at its "Finest"

Manila : Philippines | Jun 08, 2012 at 11:24 AM PDT
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Low-Cost Housing for the Philippines

Upon looking at this kind of picture, at first we see a dream that is absolutely worth fulfilling.

Resorting to such phrases such as “The future belongs to those who dare the impossible", this kind of picture shows a future that is worth fulfilling as sprawling towers and edifices of progress made Metro Manila and the Philippines itself as risen from the ruins of decades ago. Quite admiring isn't it to call it as a dream of the future?

However, upon looking at every part of it, made this wtriter think that since there are good buildings been built, cars, sprawling development in the metro, then how come on the other side there are shantytowns also? Is this also a part of development and progress as described in the picture?

Quite ridiculous isn't it? To think about change, progress in those buildings and complaining its side effects such as those deemed as eyesores? In looking at that whole picture coming from Paulo alcazaren, here lies contradictions given by an uncontrolled development such as in Makati: high rise buildings coexist with shantytowns. And that latter easily meant to say that they're illegal settlers living in someone else's property, with most of them working legally and a portion of it are deemed to be as scum of the earth.

This writeup doesn't mean it speak directly on behalf of the ones living in shantytowns, but to look at this kind of matter, these are the after-effects of an uncontrolled development given, living in privately-owned yet idle compounds making this writer think being first to develop, yet to see their houses deemed as eyesore meant to be ridiculed, assailed, be given complaint, directly demolished such as those from Silverio in Paranaque-whose people complain that they owned their land by paying every peso in it everyday as part of their mayor's "housing program", but why to be relocated in another site instead of given a step by step reformative development of that said village in pursuit of lessening an eysore image?

Questionable so to speak, to think that in fact, why to complain about illegal settlers in Makati, in Silverio Compound in Paranaque, in Tondo, yet not knowing the effects of an uncontrolled development such as this picture? It's not and can't be about population boom, of blaming people making love that resulted to having more babies and tell that they're uneducated (thanks to lack of facilities and programs that spur lack of interest) or timid (thanks to a culture that fosters consumerism than productivity), it is a matter on how to plan and set things straight the way we ought to put things in order such as social discipline. The concept of development isn't about how to expand markets and creating consumers instead of hardworking professionals.

True isn't it? To think that those so-called squatters also sprawl same as concrete buildings thanks to the massive influx of people from the provinces trying to seek for a good life in the urban areas, why to complain and condemn them as eyesore and hindrance to progress yet not thinking why development isn't controlled that resulted to such urban sprawl including these so-called "squatters"?

Anyways, development as what everyone see is how to expand markets than increase productivity rates for the common good; to think that sprawling high rise buildings for commerical instead of residential, of financial districts over agro-industrial complexes, or commercial centres over garden cities, all creating illusions different from what hath been recommended.

Once, this writer read a writeup about a concept made by Gottfried Feder of the Nazi party. There he proposed creating agricultural cities of 20,000 people divided into nine autonomous units and surrounded by agricultural areas, and each city was to be fully autonomous and self-sufficient; with detailed plans for daily living and urban amenities are taken into consideration.

Obviously, that concept meant putting things in order contrary to a disorganized sprawl of "development" resulting to major problems such as illegal settlers, however Feder's idea was opposed by interests within Hitler's circle during those times especially those who favor rearmament as its top priority as well as keeping factories decentralized. Hitler's "Germania" was all but monumental without any purpose such as a showcase of power, contratry to his rival, Stalin whose cities were built to a general development plan, as part of rationalization of the country, each was divided into districts with allotments based on the city's geography. Projects would be designed for whole districts, visibly transforming a city's architectural image.

That somehow involves creation of mass housing such as in Kiev and in Moscow. Rapid Proletarianization of peoples in Soviet Russia meant creation of organized communities, and organized communities meant creation of mass housing; like William Hesketh Lever's Port Sunlight in Great Britain, it puts closer to their places of employment and recreation. Such proposals like these stresses the idea of a futuristic society that few hath understood, stressing self sufficiency, order, advancement and concrete development, it makes sense to see such planned communities than today's develoment marred by problems such as what people call as eyesores and impediments to progress, yet aloof on what's behind those kind of communities sprawl thanks to the illusion of progress and development in urban areas.

Having read Feder's idea, Stalin's, Burnham's, as well as the concepts behind the creation of Quezon City, this writer felt that to see such plans left in the paper and looking at present day problems made think why they complain yet before they aloof? To think that after war the idea hath scrapped off, everything owned by the state such as in Quezon City squandered by private companies having land speculation as its sideline, resulted in an uncontrolled urban sprawl in areas supposedly being planned-to think that a once city of gardens turned into concrete and neon signs, then complain about shantytowns in idle land? Why to complain if not serious in developing something on those lands? Least the ones whom thine complaining to are the ones who started giving life in it, to think that complaining illegal settlers for lowering land costs, perhaps this writer rather say which is to be think upon: the ones whom gave a vote and need real mass housing or the land for those wishing to expand markets and create potential consumers?

Well, this is the so-called development according to business. sprawling towers, commercial complexes, exclusive homes for the privileged. All comes with a price-seeing those who built their homes, buildings, working in their factories and acting as their households, paved their roads, all having makeshift houses destined for demolition in years time in the name of relocation. Tondo's development as a once industrial component of Manila comes with a price, same as the sprawling uncontrolled "development" of Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong, all of Metro Manila as the provinces being left underdeveloped and dependent.

And speaking of relocation, why to complain also about less rice and food production if arable ones end up as subdivisions? Que barbaridad! Is this what everyone called itself as "progress?"

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"Development" at its "Finest"
Sprawling towers coexists with shantytowns, a result of uncontrolled development in Metro Manila (Photo courtesy of Paulo Alcazaren)
QuillRose is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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