The report you are about to read waswritten by MA-level graduate students andsubmitted to the Naga City Governmentand relevant stakeholder groups topartially fulfill the requirements in PLAN548H – Planning Studio Course inParticipatory Planning and Governance.This was a graduate program courseoffered at the School of Community andRegional Planning (SCARP) at the Universityof British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver,Canada and conducted in the summer of2007 in Naga City. The course offering wasa first in many ways. It was the first fieldstudio course at SCARP offered in thePhilippines. The course description, outlineand schedule of activities were developedwith Naga City Planning Division, other Cityofficials, and the Ateneo de Naga Centrefor Local Governance. It also benefitedfrom students’ feedback and assessment ofinitial interests. The topics of the finalgroup report assignments were decidedafter the first class meeting with Naga CityMayor, Hon. Jesse Robredo, who outlinedhis City’s strategic planning priorities andhis hopes of what the UBC students can doas he puts it, in helping “reinvent Citygovernance.”
Why a Studio Course in ParticipatoryPlanning and Governance?
Professional planners-in-training needexposure and experience in the challengesthat face many developing countries. Thetransnational flows of people, ideas,services, movements and goods around theworld make those challenges almostuniversal in character, if not in dimensionand scale. Planning is inextricably andorganically linked with governance.Planning practices depend much onpolitical institutions, guiding policies,procedural rules and programs that areshaped by governance practices andcultures. A studio course design optimizesthe learning and teaching of lessonsderived from the real world of planning-governance nexus. Hence, the course wasdesigned to be experiential, dialogic,interactive, and community-based. It wasstructured as a mutual learning experimentfor students and the Naga City planners,officials, and residents.Thus, the course general learningobjectives for the twenty Canadian andinternational graduate students were to:
Understand and appreciate the realworld of planning challenges in adeveloping country;
Provide meaningful inputs to NagaCity planning processes andimplementation plans;
Create a new generation ofplanners who bring in theirthoughtful analytical skills intocreative and practical solutions.
Bring lessons from Naga City andthe Philippines as a whole toplaces, sites and cultures in theirfuture planning work.More specifically, the students wereexpected to be able to:
Provide sustainable, low-cost andeffective recommendations topromote good change in Naga City;
Demonstrate and apply theirinterdisciplinary planning skills inlocal governance issues;
Write thoughtful and well-researched planning reports thatNaga City officials and staff, as wellas community groups, can use intheir current and future work.
Why a Studio Course in Naga City?
Naga is a mid-size city of 150,000 residentsin Bicol region, central Philippines. It isinternationally and nationally renowned asamong the “best practices” in good localgovernance in the Philippines and in thedeveloping world. Naga City has maximizedthe opportunities for governance reform,local capacity building, and improveddelivery of basic services created by