HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 59 no. 1 (2013)

The Philippine Plaza Complex: Reconciling Conservation of Historical and Heritage Structures and Sites with Demands of Urban Growth

Meliton B. Juanico

Discipline: History



It is observed that the plaza complex urban morphology of old towns and cities in the Philippines often becomes the Central Business District (CBD) on account of its locational centrality and accessibility. However, in the evolution towards a commercial hub following the urbanization cycle model, the conservation of the plaza, and its appurtenant historical landmarks, such as the church, town hall, school and market is compromised. Considering the high land values and bid rents of the plaza complex, decision-makers and real estate developers increasingly try to fill the complex with business establishments, but in the process they also try to destroy, remodel, and block the landmarks surrounding it. In operation here is a conflict between the historical-conservationist and the economist-developer schools of thought and, sad to say, the latter often prevails. There are novel ways of reconciling the need to conserve the country’s historical and heritage sites, structures and objects with the demands for strategic spaces and locations of urban growth. In this paper, the remedial approaches to the heritage conservation problem from the related planning and geographical perspective are presented.

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Osie Bautista
5 months ago