Groups urge to include placemaking 
in planning for public spaces
SunStar File Photo

Groups urge to include placemaking in planning for public spaces

ATTY. Mark Peñalver, executive director of Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis), said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday, January 15, 2024, at SM Ecoland, that planning for public spaces should include placemaking, as it does not only create a better space but also promote inclusivity. 

This, as he pointed out that some of the public spaces in the city exclude other sectors on the ground.

“Sometimes may (there are) question pa nga, for example, sa atoang (on our) coastal roads, there was no access for our residents who need special attention. So with placemaking we wanted to provide an avenue for stakeholders to give their suggestions and, of course, acknowledge their stories as well,” Peñalver said.  

Dr. Derlie Mateo-Babiano, associate professor in Urban Planning Assistant at the Diversity and Inclusion Melbourne School of Design, described placemaking as a way to turn places into something that people would love. This is a way for the community to communicate their needs and wants to the developer.

“Nagpla-plano ang mga architects, planners, designers, and developers based on a future user pero pag-iisipin natin sino yung nakatira don, sila yung may alam kung ano ang valuable sa community, in terms of cultural, environmental, kumbaga different aspects. Importante na i-engage sila sa usapan in order to do that placemaking could help as an engagement tool (Architects, planners, designers, and developers plan based on the future user but if we think about the people who live there, they know what is valuable to the community in terms of cultural, environmental, the different aspects. It is important that we engage [the community] in placemaking talks that could help them understand the tool),” Babiano said.

One of the pilot projects that they conducted placemaking was in an idle place in Davao Executive Homes last 2019. Peñalver shared that together with the Davao Executive Homes Homeowners Association (DEHHA) they turned the area into a place for children, the elderly, and people with special needs. They invited Councilor Temujin “Tek” Ocampo, chairman of the committee on environment and natural resources of the 20th City Council to witness how placemaking made a difference in DEHHA. 

“And we hope through this placemaking pilot here in DEHA, the city council will adopt this as a process in developing our parks in the city,” He said.

Peñalver said that they are also advocating placemaking to institutionalize it in developing the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and all the different plans in Davao City. He said that by using placemaking in making projects the government will then be able to provide projects that are useful to the community. 

He added that they still need about three to five years to wait and amend the Comprehensive Land Use Plan but they are hopeful that they can still propose it through ordinances. 

Meanwhile, Architect Harold Delima, co-convenor of Placemaking Davao, said that they are currently doing workshops with children, teens, and adults for placemaking. He said that they are doing visioning workshops in communities and other private organizations. 

“That’s how we use placemaking as a tool currently here in Davao City,” Dilema said. RGP

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