"Asia Society Conversations" Launches over Beer, Pizza, and Urban Planning

1 <p class="rtejustify">&ldquo;A city should be livable, but also loveable.&rdquo;</p> <p>This is the modus operandi of Julia Nebrija, Urban Planner, Assistant General Manager of the MMDA, and inclusive mobility advocate. In a new partnership with co-working space Acceler8, Asia Society Philippines launched its new monthly series, <strong>ASIA SOCIETY CONVERSATIONS</strong>, on Wednesday with a very timely and actionable discussion on how Metro Manila could be redesigned to better serve its citizens. This event, made possible through the support of San Miguel Brewery, was the first in a monthly series of social networking events to be held at Acceler8. These conversations will feature young leaders, both local and foreign, covering compelling topics such as understanding Islam, Filipino food identity, technology and innovation, among others.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12.8px; text-align: justify;">In her talk, Nebrija argued that Manila is lacking not only in space (under 5m2, where the World Health Organization recommends at least 9m2), but in public space, especially green public space. Nebrija&rsquo;s solutions, rather than making a futile effort to reclaim area lost to existing structures, focused on repurposing that which is already available. She recommended a revolutionized street design, new public space near public transit zones, enhanced existing open space, and revitalized waterways.</span></p> <p class="rtejustify"><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">Wider sidewalks, better signage, and new trees will make the city more &ldquo;livable&rdquo;, but the true goal of these improvements, and the real crux of Nebrija&rsquo;s work, is to make the city more &ldquo;lovable&rdquo;. Urban planning, when effective, should make the people of Manila happier. Not only should they be able to get to work without waiting in traffic for two hours, walk down the street without choking on exhaust, or have the only transit option be a private car. In a well-designed Manila, residents should be able to wheel their strollers and walk their grandmothers to the park, the center of the neighborhood community. They should be able to celebrate the intense beauty of their clean waterways and have access to the Spanish Colonial architecture that&rsquo;s integral to their heritage. And they should be able to bike to work in fifteen minutes down a wide multi-modal street that cuts across socio-economic classes and geographies and integrates people of all neighborhoods. </span></p> <p class="rtejustify"><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">As the evening came to a close, guests mingled, shared a beer, and asked each other, &ldquo;How do we make this Manila a reality?&rdquo; It can start hyper-locally, Nebrija suggests, with neighborhood and city governing bodies&mdash; or even just by planting a tree. </span></p> <p class="rtejustify"><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">*** </span></p> <p class="rtejustify"><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">Text by Zoe Schott </span></p> <p class="rtejustify"><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">Photos by Bea Hidalgo</span></p> <div style="display:none;"> <a href="http://www.soleil-fitness.com/fitness.html">phenq</a> </div>