Mr. Reden Recio1
1University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Since the beginning of Spanish colonial occupation in the 16th century, Metro Manila has been the Philippines’ primary urban region. It has attracted rural migrants looking for better economic opportunities. Many migrants have ended up living in informal settlements, working as street vendors, informal transport drivers, home-based traders and waste pickers. State officials often see these self-organized practices and informal spaces as a form of ‘urban blight’ that requires serious government intervention. In this paper, I interrogate how state authorities (dis)place self-organized strategies of the poor in their imagined urban utopia. I examine the broader aspirational agenda as well as specific techniques of implementation that shape the planning interventions involving informality issues in Manila. Unpacking the grand urban narratives and planning approaches is critical to understanding how urban citizenship and rights are framed and exercised in many unequal Asian cities.
Redento Recio is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Informal Urbanism (InfUr) research hub. Before joining InfUr, he worked with academic institutions, development NGOs and social movements in the Philippines. His research interests include urban planning and governance issues, informal economic activities, collective action, and social inclusion policies.