MESA Orts Road Fun Day

Orts Road Community Fun Day On the 22nd of June MESA joined a community celebration at Orts Road. As part of the activities we set up open air mapping activities and table tennis. A wide range of people took part to discuss what they valued most about the area. There was ice cream and children's' activities and Reading Council staged a public vote on options for the proposed play area. ...
Read More

MESA Blog – The Value of Civic Participation and Institutional Partnerships

The Value of Civic Participation and Institutional Partnerships by Noel Cruz PHOTO: From Left: Ar. Leah Dela Rosa (Newton UST Team Lead), Ar. Rodolfo Ventura (Dean of UST College of Architecture) and Mayor Dan Fernandez (Mayor of Santa Rosa City) From my personal experiences of working for the MESA project and talking with local residents from the City of Santa Rosa, I have witnessed firsthand how local participation is of great importance in addressing the real and urgent needs and aspirations of a society.   PHOTO: Some of the community representatives The concept of civic participation is said to be closely linked with the concept of democracy. Although the concept of democracy is not new, in the Philippine context, it is only in recent decades that “bottom-up” approaches to development, which incorporate local opinion in decision-making, have become popular. After six months of working with some of the local residents of the City of Santa Rosa, we came to reap the first fruits of our collaboration with them during...
Read More

MESA Blog – Barangay Aplaya, Santa Rosa City, Laguna

Barangay Aplaya, Santa Rosa City, Laguna by Sylvia D. Clemente I always ponder on the many contradictions of this small barangay located along the lake shore of Laguna Lake. The first time we visited it’s impossible not to see it as one of the poorer barangays in Santa Rosa as you are greeted by the very narrow streets and alleys, old bridges that cut across a number of silted esteros, dilapidated wooden houses, street hawkers peddling food, and children playing on the streets.  It’s a lively community with its public space full of life as people go about their day-to-day activities and the ubiquitous tricycles darting in and out of the main street. The main street is the heart of the community and is where you get a glimpse of its character.  Churches of all denominations from Iglesia ni Cristo, Aglipayan Church, to Born Again, line up along this busy street.  The people are very religious, friendly to outsiders, are generally content and do...
Read More

Blog Post from University of Santo Tomas

In the Philippines, at the University of Santo Tomas, we are now well underway with the first stage of our mapping, which is data collection. Our site of Santa Rosa is divided into 18 political districts called barangays. We have combined social research methods (questionnaires and focus group discussions) with desktop analysis of documents such as the land use plan and development plan for the area. Early in the project, we conducted field reconnaissance surveys in to understand the topography, geology and traffic volume, environmental use (such as open spaces and greenery), and social and economic land use (construction, agricultural trends, industrial and commercial activities). Socio-cultural assets, activities of the informal sector of the economy, types of small businesses, and existing routes were also noted. We also made preliminary investigations into site conditions with infrastructure availability/accessibility (or lack of it) and types of housing (as proxy for income level). We have also used visual methods. Streets were documented though photography in the...
Read More

Our First MESA Blog Post

Our First MESA Blog Post What's been happing in Reading? Welcome to the very first MESA blog post! We will use this blog to record ongoing activities of the project. My name is Eli and together with Flora and Lorraine, we are the Reading MESA team. In due course I will introduce the team from Santo Tomas in Manila in the Philippines and the work that they are doing. This first post will discuss our initial activities and thoughts here in Reading. The first steps that we took were aimed at getting a better understanding of the different types of research currently being conducted through maps and mapping, so that we could begin to think about how the work we are doing will relate to, and build upon, current trends. Across disciplines there is a growing interest in using mapping as a way of reflecting upon and researching spatial issues. These issues range, not least, from the from the social to the environmental...
Read More