Design Better is a new book compilation of proposed design solutions for existing sites or buildings all over the Philippines, specifically chosen by professionals across the design and urban planning community. Twenty-five design teams have put forward new design proposals and urban interventions for spaces which are often overlooked or neglected.

The aim of Design Better is to promote designs which attempt to address urban problems in a creative and innovative way. Too often do we see problematic areas in our cities being concealed or superficially remedied, frequently only considered in the short term. These new projects however, do not only fulfill a box-ticking exercise but strive to tackle the underlying causes of urban defects and deficiencies for the foreseeable future. The mindset common to all of the designers involved is to improve peoples’ lives and the existing urban fabric, instead of tearing down neighborhoods, displacing people and disrupting livelihoods.

At the outset BluPrint posed questions to every design team to help develop each project into feasible, optimistic solutions. Throughout the process it was important to identify the following potential benefits of the proposed re-designs by asking how the proposals will:

  • Generate a better sense of place for people? How will they make the city a better place for the end user, the passer by, the locals? Will it be delightful, enjoyable or inspiring for people?
  • Improve, enhance or highlight connectivity within and around the chosen site? Will movement into, out of, through or around the site be more efficient?
  • Promote identity, neighborliness, or a sense of belonging and community? How can they be more relevant to the times and our Filipino-ness?
  • Be more inclusive, rather than exclusive? How can they be more just, equitable and accessible, rather than only for the privileged few?
  • Be more respectful of existing patterns of use?
  • Make places safer, more secure and more resilient?
  • Be more sustainable and environmentally-friendly? How can they be respectful of or nurture natural elements and features?
  • Be more cost effective and convenient to keep clean and tidy?

As well as providing design outcomes, the teams have initiated or even reignited conversations with stakeholders and interested parties, all of whom have given valuable input to substantiate every project’s narrative.

Existing conditions for selected sites have been thoroughly documented in the form of site analysis and photo surveys. All projects are depicted by means of appropriate design drawings, diagrams to convey key design decisions and a series of perspective visuals or renders to illustrate each team’s proposal. The ultimate objective is to create a dialogue around these forgotten spaces and hopefully, in some cases, spark the process of materializing long term visions.

Click here to download the Design Better book brief.

Design Better will be released in December. Watch this space for more updates. 

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