Open Call for Neo-Urban Planners

This will be my other project for Green Papaya residency, the Connecting Urban Spaces will be shown in February

Open Call for
Neo-Urban Planners

Project by Mark Salvatus @ Green Papaya
(Jan-Feb 2009)
http://neourbanplan ner.blogspot. com/

*What if you were tasked to take over MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) and make a new urban plan? What will you do? What will you change? Be creative! be innovative! It can be simple to grand / utopian plan... or serious to fun-unrealistic one... grab your camera and roam the city and see what you can do...

In a 1975 survey, one out of three people all over the world live in urban areas, with most of the 1.5 billion "urbanites" living in districts with less than a million residents. (Many of these urban dwellers, in fact, live in communities with a population of less than 5,000) Over the years, the urban residency has swelled significantly that half of the world's population is living in cities. Parallel to this growth in urban population (and the continuous rise of smaller cities) is the emergence of "mega-cities" -- urban areas of no less than 10 million people.

Between 1975 and 2005, the number of mega-cities has grown from a meager three (two of which were in industrialized, first-world countries) to a record-breaking 20 (with 15 of them belonging in developing nations).

SOURCE: United Nations Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects:
The 2005 Revision (2006).


In East Asia alone, more than 2 million people have moved into urban areas. The rapid exodus to these specific areas indicates more opportunities in wealth and a chance for a better future for some. In the Philippines, where the Metro Manila region is the official hub of economy, education, and contemporary culture, more and more people from the rural areas are moving into the city to try their luck. Away from home, these people would often bring their customs and traditions with them as they settle in the metro; thus making their rural culture an integral part of the urban setting.

There are laye
rs upon layers of old and new structures; chaos in the streets; graffiti, may it be political or apolitical, street vendors, MMDA, gigantic billboards, and the overwhelming influence of Western cultures--malls in every district, pocket shanties, layers of sound - among others. And in the last 3 decades, Metro Manila became a very problematic region in terms of urban planning, drainage systems, pollution, over-population--and these problems affect the city dwellers negatively.


Having lived in Manila for more than a decade, the projects that I am doing for W.O.P. will revolve around urbanism and the urban culture, and how artists, creatives, and ordinary people see their city in different perspectives. I will be doing personal and collaborative works that will be presented as exhibitions, screenings, talks etc.

What is our role in changing the city?

We are making
a new urban plan for our city. We are the neo-urban planners.

Project: The city as our creative juice

*Neo Urban Planner

This will be an online project, I will make a multiply or a blogger account wherein I will ask people living in the city (Manila, Cebu, Davao etc) to take a photo of a certain area wherein they want to improve. They will become an urban planner and encourages creativity in all its forms in ways that are intrinsic and integral to the daily life of the city. Just think that you are the current MMDA chairman. Be creative and innovative. No pink please…

The project will be presented every Wednesday and the person who submitted a plan will be invited to show and discuss what he thinks should be improved. The collected photos and proposals form the people who participated on the online call

will be used for a future exhibit or publication.

example plans:

*Make a hanging garden on all the foot bridges

*Make a graphic design that will be printed on tarpaulin and give it to pedicab drivers - pang tarapal etc...

email your plans to markrams@yahoo. com with the subject "Neo-Urban Plan"

*there is no specific deadline just send it until Feb 2009

Mark Salvatus is a cross-disciplinary artist based in Manila and Lucban, Philippines. He graduated cum laude at the UST College of Fine Arts & Design and currently taking up MFA at the same university. In 2007, he was granted a scholarship by the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation under the Ministry of Spain in Barcelona. His projects has been exhibited and presented in the Philippines and abroad. He is also the co-founder of Pilipinas Street Plan (2006)- a community of street and graffiti artists that is changing the urban esthetic of our cities. http://marksalvatus .blogspot. com