Parks, Plans, and Human Needs: Metro Manila’s Unrealised Urban Plans and Accidental Public Green Spaces

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Planned after the City Beautiful Movement and Garden City Movement, Manila City and Quezon City, now among Metro Manila’s 16 cities, did not result in the desired outcomes of their planners. The history of unfulfilled visions that began with Burnham’s 1905 Plan for Manila repeated in similar fashion in Quezon City in its 1949 Frost-Arellano Plan. How do Metro Manila’s public green spaces, as remnants of these plans, sustained specific visions for meeting human needs? To find answers, we focused on Rizal Park and the University of the Philippines (UP) Academic Oval – two public green spaces that remained from the Burnham and Frost-Arellano plans. Contemporary uses of these spaces suggest that the intermingling of the upper and lower classes as envisioned in these plans is limited; nonetheless, they represent endeavours by fairly diverse groups to actively satisfy human needs within and beyond how these spaces were initially designed.