Capturing the dynamic character of the Philippine peri-urban landscape: a landscape character system approach for the region of Cavite
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date16/01/2024
Nadal, Cathe Desiree S.
The Philippines is undergoing significant urbanisation, with Metropolitan Manila being recognised as a megacity with spatial growth affecting the broader metropolitan region and its fringe. Lower-density urban sprawl has created a dynamic of peri-urbanisation spreading into areas with suitable terrain and infrastructure access. At present, the Philippines also has an urban planning framework that is weak, with almost no understanding of the significance of landscape types as entities that must be holistically considered across local and territorial scales. Recognition of the value and the concept of landscape is a challenge, and the silos in regional planning frameworks of the Philippines prevent a coordinated approach to solving its many problems. This lack of landscape led approaches in developing planning frameworks in the Philippines can be exemplified by the following: ●Growth in spatial size and number of settlement blocks built on the national integrated protected areas in the country ●Increase in sprawl development and informal settlements towards disaster-prone areas at the fringe of Metropolitan Manila ●Rapid conversion of land for development like special export processing zones or economic zones (Remedio, 1996; Wu, 2009) prioritising economic ideals over ecological and local cultural attributes of land in the urban, peri-urban, and the countryside areas The prioritisation of urban development and expansion over and above the capacity of the landscape to endure change within current planning frameworks is the research problem calling for a landscape-based solution. The research in this thesis is based on the development and application of a Landscape Character System (LCS) proposed for the Philippines with Cavite, an urban region at the fringe of the greater Metropolitan Manila area, as a case study. As a proposed solution, the LCS is designed to explore the syntactic nature of landscape character assessments while also adopting a landscape-based methodology for landscape planning frameworks. LCS as a landscape-based methodology is then brought into the context of the demand for new approaches to sustainable planning that address the global climate crisis whilst also considering local needs, thus redirecting the landscape towards nature and culture responsive actions. As landscape assumed a more significant role as a resource and a territory that supplements plan with vital ecological and cultural information, its role in environment-responsive planning also gained interests worldwide. Landscape resources became an important component of planning, thus creating landscape-led dialogues like the European Landscape Convention and Landscape Agenda which served as baseline to a more landscape-focused management plan for the European territory. These are also examples of high level of primary research that were undertaken in the field where landscape-based actions are drawn from readings of the landscape that are situated and specific within the territory. This situation makes it very timely research to find parallel solutions to landscape territories in the Global South – specifically landscape territories of fringe areas in the highly urbanising city found in the Philippines. These Philippine fringe areas are the territories to be studied for the problems brought by urbanisation and globalisation to its landscape. Furthermore, the research dimension is practical as landscape-based actions drawn from the specificity of the Philippine peri-urban territory must be prioritised as conditions of its environment are now threatened with this urban change. The Landscape Character System (LCS) proposed through this thesis is found in international contexts but applied and adapted to local situations to close the gap in the Philippine context, bringing Cavite's landscape towards the narratives of sustainable planning. Cavite is one of the regions known to be rapidly populating while also swiftly accommodating the influences of urban sprawl. Aside from that, Cavite is also primarily affected by planning directions set by a regional policy anchored on global economic advancement. Thus, it forms an ideal testing ground for the methods as proposed. The LCS proposed in this research forms the basis for identifying multi-dimensional possibilities for Cavite's landscape. The LCS method encapsulates the landscape phenomena of the case study site – a meaningful output that will uncover essential characteristics of the region. It also includes multi-dimensional solutions for capturing geodata, place, morphogenetic, perceptive, and future scenario attributes. Furthermore, the LCS is also envisioned as a mapping tool that scans and demonstrates the different dimensions of space and place in Cavite. The LCS traverses the complexity of the landscape condition by cataloguing information in a highly resolved GIS environment enabling potential users to understand the different factors affecting the landscape being studied. This catalogue, known in this study as the LCS of Cavite, Philippines, becomes a valuable basis for landscape recognition and landscape-based management strategy creation. The LCS also becomes a receptacle of data and a tool in moving Philippine environments towards nature- and culture-responsive futures.
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