Locating Leisure and Belonging in Metro Manila: From Hyper-conditioned Environments to Public Green Spaces

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Leisure practices have implications for belonging. In Metro Manila; a rapidly urbanizing metropolis; leisure is becoming increasingly associated with the most ubiquitous hyper-conditioned environments: privately owned shopping malls. By decontextualizing the built environment from its natural and cultural settings; these malls present a challenge to establishing a sense of belonging within a metropolis. Yet; despite its ubiquity; the mall has not fully displaced outdoor spaces; especially public green spaces; as sites of leisure. What do leisure practices in these two seemingly contrasting environments reveal about belonging in a metropolis? Some answers to these questions are to be found in a socio-material reading of leisure spaces; which reveal how belonging is not only created by actors and social institutions but also by spaces; objects; technologies; infrastructure and the microclimate. On the basis of a qualitative study; our findings demonstrate why public green spaces are more conducive than hyper-conditioned environments for fostering a sense of belonging together and to the metropolis.