Learning is a lifetime process.

And as a professor, I know that classroom education can only provide so much knowledge.

Moreover, as we venture out the real world of careers, we ironically end up being in a routine inside 9-5 office spaces.

I believe professional environmental planners are not excused from being trapped in routines.

There are document templates and forms for every plan and permit. So, even when working with multiple study areas, planners may tend to become confined by our fundamental biases.

Change is the end result of all true learning.

Leo Buscaglia

To help planners in the continuous pursuit of knowledge in urban planning, I propose these websites and authors to visit and follow.  

I list these resources hoping to encourage daily learning experiences for fellow environmental planners.

I am also confident that aspiring planners and local government officials can benefit from following these authors and websites.

By daily learning of Filipino planners, Philippine cities will become happy cities!

Read my message for new and old local officials.

Opinions of Filipino Environmental Planners

The wide array of tragic issues in Philippine metropolitan areas has put a spotlight on the lack of proper implementation of existing urban management plans. In response, many urban planners are contributing to the discourse of resolving urban issues.

“There’s a simple solution to our traffic problems. We’ll have business build the roads, and government build the cars.”

Will Rogers

These four authors are primary in my mind because of their frequent articles in common news and feature outlets, both printed and digital.

Prof. Meliton Juanico

As a geographer-turned-planner, it is my personal bias to start with one of our own from the UP Department of Geography. Prof. Meliton  Juanico is a professorial lecturer at UP Diliman and is one of my mentors as an environmental planner.

In “A tale of 2 cities,” Prof. Juanico compares the cities of Marikina and Manila. Prof. Juanico highlights the available street infrastructure in Marikina not found in Manila.

Arch. Felino Palafox Jr.

Even novice environmental planners have heard the name of Architect Felino Palafox Jr. The world-renowned Filipino architect recently compiled lists of Top 10 Cities of the World.

In a feature by Manila Standard, Arch. Palafox was quoted that the formula for success of the best cities was “(v)isionary leadership, strong political will, good urban planning, design and architecture and good governance.”

EnP. Ragene Palma

Aside from maintaining a knowledge hub for takers of the Environmental Planning Board Exam, EnP “Jean” also contributes articles to the Philippine Inquirer.

EnP Jean’s “Patintero on the Streets” is an open letter to all sharers of Philippine roads. EnP Jean has also explained the importance of urban planning in the context of the Philippines.

Urban planning is a diverse, multi-disciplinary field. It is a science…It is also an art…

EnP. Ragene Palma

Arch. Paulo Alcazaren

You have definitely seen Architect Paulo Alcazaren’s “party-list campaign” for the MADAFAKAS – the Metropolitan Alliance to Develop and Fix All Kaantos and Sidewalks.

Beyond talking about the importance of sidewalks, Architect Alcazaren also features  beautiful photos and hosts quick quizzes on his personal Facebook profile. He also writes about green spaces in City Sense.

Books like “Happy City” provide the local urban designers and planners a tour of different city experiences.

CityLab

I have previously listed Citylab in my “Five Websites to Follow on Feedly,” and the site’s impact on your planning knowledge makes it worth the mention again.

Citylab articles cover five major areas: design, transportation, environment, equity, and life. These categories cover the spectrum of plans that environmental planners must produce.

The CityLab homepage on June 26, 2019.
The CityLab homepage on June 26, 2019.

CityLab articles also show why environmental planning and environmental science must be bridged.

I have used Citylab articles in my lectures and research, particularly about the impact of centuries of urbanization, the quest for equity in sanitation, and cognitive mapping.

DILG Reports and Resources Page

The DILG website is an essential knowledge hub for aspiring environmental planners.

Urban planning is both a technical and a political exercise, so planners must also be knowledgeable about local government and national government dynamics.

One of the three Planning Bibles: the “Rationalizing the Local Planning System” Sourcebook.
One of the three Planning Bibles: the “Rationalizing the Local Planning System” Sourcebook

Digital guides about documents and plans required from local government units are available. These resources range from local corporate planning, disaster risk reduction and management, gender and development, and infrastructure management.

Increasing knowledge in these planning areas equips the Filipino planner towards systems thinking of the urban environment.

Interested in solid waste management planning?

Download my curated list of resources.

Pages of Environmental Planning Organizations

The Philippine institute of Environmental Planners is the “accredited professional organization for the environmental planners…in the Philippines.”

Following the PIEP Facebook Page will inform about the various activities undertaken by environmental planners.

“Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even should they rarely stick to their plan.”

Winston Churchill

UP Plano is an “academic organization for graduate students based in the School of Urban and Regional Planning.” One of the strengths of the UP Plano Facebook Page is its posting frequency, sharing knowledge links almost hourly.

The page of your local government unit

 I believe that environmental planners (and environmental-planners-in-training) must be more aware of the concerns of our own locale before engaging in consultancy projects in remote areas. 

Following the page or website of your province and municipality (and barangay if they have one) is a start towards being an involved local citizen. Being an involved local citizen is training for becoming a citizen planner, making plans that fit existing circumstances.

“Do not try to make circumstances fit your plans. Make plans that fit the circumstances.”

~ George S. Patton

As a resident of Quezon City, I follow the Facebook Page of the City Government. Not to wait for class suspensions (and the QC Government Page is quick to update on those!) but to know what is happening in the city that I am unable to physically observe.

While working in Albay, I also started following the Facebook Page of Legazpi City. I still follow the Page because it shares beautiful and interesting photos of tourist destinations in Albay, especially of Mayon Volcano.

Conclusion

The convenience of learning about urban planning through digital resources is an advantage for environmental planners today. Setting aside time to read of and also write about planning experiences will thrust Filipino urban planning towards resolving issues more effectively.

What sites and pages do you follow to pursue planning knowledge?

I also to contribute to increasing planning knowledge by sharing links on my social media pages. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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