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DEFINING URBAN SPACE IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Case of Divisoria


ALEJANDRO | ESPINA | FABELLO PEDRACIO | TILLADA | YUBOKMEE
ARCH 161 PROF. GRACE C. RAMOS

ANALYSIS OF RESULTS
A N A N A LY S I S O F R E S P O N D E N T S A N S W E R S T O T H E SURVEY

PROMINENTLY PERCEIVED ELEMENTS IN DIVISORIA

PROMINENTLY PERCEIVED ELEMENTS IN DIVISORIA


This question was intended to find out what What do you see here? type of elements stand out when it comes to perceiving the urban jungle of Divisoria. The elements that were present in each respondents answer were categorized as either Physical, Social, or a combination of both. As such, a tally of results would reveal whether physical or social elements dominate urban space perception in Divisoria.

PROMINENTLY PERCEIVED ELEMENTS IN DIVISORIA


25

20 # of people

15

Physical Elements Social Elements Physical and Social Elements

10

0 Physical Elements Social Elements Type of Element Physical and Social Elements

PROMINENTLY PERCEIVED ELEMENTS IN DIVISORIA

40%

40%

Physical & Social Elements Social Elements


Physical Elements

20%

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
Based on the results, it seems that physical elements, rather than social elements, have the advantage when it comes to aiding urban space perception in Divisoria. However, it is also worth noting that a large portion of respondents opted to point out both physical and social elements when perceiving the urban environment. Perhaps this is a result of how both physical and social elements stand out in Divisoria, largely due to the fact that physical elements arent used in the way that they are supposed to be used and social elements almost overflow within every scene.

ABILITY/INABILITY OF PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE TH SPACE

ABILITY/INABILITY OF PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE TH SPACE


Do you recognize the space? Can you identify it?
This question was intended to find out whether the elements present in the space are sufficient enough for respondents to identify the area. This detail points out whether the space has taken upon itself a certain identity which people are already familiar with or qualities that it has made its own.

ABILITY/INABILITY OF PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE THE SPACE


35 30 25 # of people 20 15 10

Unabl e Able

5
0 Unable Able Ability/Inability Others

ABILITY/INABILITY OF PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE THE SPACE

15%

30%
Unabl e Able

55%

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
Based on the results, it can be seen that majority of the respondents were able to recognize the space as Divisoria. Some who were unable to recognize the space nevertheless provided answers such as Quiapo, Binondo, Baclaran, and Manila. It could be argued that the reason these particular spaces were chosen was because these spaces have already been acknowledged as largely commercial street markets by the general public, the same as Divisoria, and as such share the same qualities. This set of characteristics includes, but is not limited to - disorganization, having a large density of people, pollution, dirt, the presence of street vendors, and the like.

PERCEIVED FUNCTION OF SPACES

PERCEIVED FUNCTION OF SPACES

What do you think are the spaces for? Why do you think so?
Here, the researchers aim to find out whether the elements within a space correspond to a perceived purpose or function, and whether these functions rightfully fall within the norm.

PERCEIVED FUNCTION OF SPACES


35

30
25 # of people 20 15

Commercial
Roadway

10
5 0 Commercial Roadway Function Converted Area

PERCEIVED FUNCTION OF SPACES

19%
Commercial

21%

60%

Roadway

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

The results reveal that a large portion of the respondents believed the spaces within Divisoria to be commercial in nature, often directly stating its likeness to a market or tiangge. A smaller portion of respondents believed the spaces to be for transit both vehicular and pedestrian.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Interestingly, some of the respondents highlighted the unusual aspect of how the spaces were used. Specifically, they remark on how the spaces are supposed to be used as passageways (perhaps based on their normal perception of roads and street), yet are converted into markets for commercial purposes. In general, respondents based their conclusions on the physical and social elements that they found in the images of the spaces. For example - stalls, sellers, and products lead some to believe that the spaces functioned for commercial purposes whilst the paved roads and sidewalks made others conclude that the spaces

WHAT USERS ASSOCIATE THE SPACES IN DIVISORIA WITH

WHAT USERS ASSOCIATE THE SPACES IN DIVISORIA WITH

What do you associate these spaces with?


This question explores a more in-depth analysis on the associative properties of a Filipinos ability to perceive urban space.

WHAT USERS ASSOCIATE THE SPACE WITH


20 18 16 14 # of people 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Social Elements Physical Function Elements Associated Element Place

Social Elements Physical Elements

WHAT USERS ASSOCIATE THE SPACE WITH

17%

31%
26% 26%

Social Elements Physical Elements

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Based on the survey results, the elements that respondents associated with the spaces in Divisoria could be divided into four different categories social elements, physical elements, function, and place.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Respondents associated spaces with other places the most. They were reminded of particular places due to the characteristics and elements within the images shown. This association was most common with those who did not know or were not certain whether the area was Divisoria. They associated the space with Divisoria itself or with broader areas such as Recto and Manila. Physical elements and function are the second most associated topics, perhaps similar due to the fact that function is implied through the physical elements present. Here, they associated the spaces with dirt, streets, shopping, trading, cheap goods and the like.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Finally, they associated the spaces with social elements the least. This includes aspects such as the population density of the area, etc.

HOW RESPONDENTS DESCRIBE DIVISORIA

How would you describe the previous spaces?


This question aims to collect a series of adjectives which people use to describe Divisoria, based on the physical and social elements (as well as the arrangement thereof) in the images.

HOW RESPONDENTS DESCRIBE DIVISORIA


16 14

12
# of answers

10
8 6 4 2 0

Crowded Cramped Dirty Messy Unorganized Chaotic Busy Smelly Dangerous Positive

Adjective

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
The unnatural and overflowing arrangement of elements within Divisoria prompted respondents to describe the spaces with adjectives with negative connotations such as Dirty, Messy, Unorganized, and Chaotic. It seems that the sheer amount of people (a social element) is the most striking detail which imprinted onto the respondents minds. Cramped is the second-most highlighted. It should be noted that there are also strands of arguably positive adjectives within the influx of negative ones. Examples of which would be the words Rich, Exciting, Colorful, and Organic.

WAYFINDING

How would you direct somebody to the previous spaces?


The purpose of this question is to identify the methods Filipinos normally use for wayfinding in an urban commercial setting.

HOW PEOPLE WOULD GIVE DIRECTIONS WITHIN THE SPACE


20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

# of people

No Idea

Transportation Technology

Directional Elements

HOW PEOPLE WOULD GIVE DIRECTIONS WITHIN THE SPACE

30%

24%

No Idea

19% 7%

20%

Transportation Technology

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
Based on the results, one-third of the respondents believe that the use of landmarks would be effective in giving out directions within Divisoria. In particular, pointing out buildings and establishments would be the most effective. A quarter of the total respondents however, could not give any directions on way-finding instead opting to label the spaces as too chaotic or messy. Interestingly, those who could not give an answer were also those who did not know the site at all.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

The next way-finding technique respondents opted to do is to point out what public transportation to ride. This focus on transportation could be linked to the previous analyses, where respondents identified the function of the space as a roadway. The act of receiving directions from other people is just as popular. Finally, technology (particularly Google Maps) was also suggested as a technique to get directions, although only a handful of respondents answered so.

OVERALL SURVEY ANALYSIS


C O M PA R I S O N O F P H Y S I C A L A N D SOCIAL ELEMENTS IN TERMS OF THEIR STRENGTHS IN AIDING U R B A N S PA C E P E R C E P T I O N .

OVERALL SURVEY ANALYSIS

The survey results point out that when it comes to perceiving and associating urban spaces and functions, physical elements are a lot more effective. These physical elements clearly correspond to preconceived notions in peoples minds that allow them to automatically pinpoint functions and descriptions. This includes alerting people when a space isnt used the way its supposed to.

OVERALL SURVEY ANALYSIS

Physical elements, in the form of landmarks, also become very effective mechanisms for way-finding, since they provide people with solid and striking directions . Social elements are also very efficient in gathering directions, especially since Divisoria is overflowing with people. This is further proven by the researchers field visit, where it was observed that people asked directions by asking where a product can be bought associating product with space.

PROFILE ANALYSIS
R E L AT I O N S H I P O F A N S W E R S T O R E S P O N D E N T PROFILE

PROFILE ANALYSIS

The respondents ranged from 14-48 years old, with majority being undergraduate college students. Each individuals knowledge about Divisoria, it seems, was not affected by age or educational attainment. Instead, their knowledge was more dependent on what they saw in the images, coupled with possible knowledge of the place prior to the survey (theyve been to Divisoria before).

SUB-PROBLEM ANALYSIS
ANSWERS TO SUB-PROBLEMS

WHAT ELEMENTS DO FILIPINOS USE TO DESCRIBE SPACES WITHIN THE URBAN SETTING?

Filipinos are likely to describe urban spaces either with landmarks, activities prevalent in any given area, or a combination of the two. This is supported by the results yielded by the survey, where majority of the respondents reacted to the density of stalls and people in the pictures, linking Divisoria with the words crowded, cramped, noisy etc.

WHAT SENSES ARE USED TO DESCRIBE THESE ELEMENTS?

Among the physical and social elements present in Divisoria, the respondents were most receptive to elements perceivable by sight and by hearing, as they described the place by associating it the most with elements they see and hear (e.g. merchandise, stalls, people, paths, jeepney placards, noise), followed by smell, as several respondents described Divisoria as smelly.

WHAT ARE THE MODES OF WAY-FINDING IN THE PHILIPPINE URBAN SETTING?

Based on the results yielded by the survey, the most well-known and effective modes of wayfinding here in the Philippines are landmarks and public transportation routes. Based on observations from field visits to Divisoria in particular, people often find their way by associating a space with the product sold there.

HOW ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PERCEIVED SPACES DIFFERENTIATED?

In Divisoria, the lines between road and commercial space are horribly blurred, that is, almost all the roads are used as retail space by the vendors. As such, the only way one may be able to tell the actual function of a space is to observe the activity in it, as well as different visual and spatial elements that may help create the image of the space.

WHAT MAKES THE FILIPINOS URBAN SPACE PERCEPTION DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF THE WESTERN CULTURE?

Urban space perception in the Filipino context is characterized more by perceived spaces what happens in a given space in reality. This perception of space is helped by physical, visual and social cues that set it apart from other places plus the individuals personal take on the space the spirit of place, in a way. This Filipino style of space perception is different from the more objective western approach where people judge the space by taking in physical and social cues what can be seen or heard in a given location.

CONCLUSION

THE FILIPINO IMAGE OF THE CITY

From the researchs observations and findings, it seems that Filipinos perceive a space differently from what Kevin Lynch imagines to be the norm. The researchers were able to single out recurring elements in order to piece together a pattern which connotes to legibility in the Filipino urban environment (particularly for large commercial districts).

LANDMARKS

Filipinos heavily acknowledge landmarks as efficient wayfinding elements even without prior knowledge of the context of the space.

DISTRICTS & SUB-DISTRICTS

In the case of Divisoria (and perhaps other similar commercial districts in the country), these subdistricts are associated to the type of products they sell in order to make it easier to navigate for purchases.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Dependence on physical elements in order to identify spaces becomes tedious and inefficient. Filipinos tend to rely on observing social activities in order to form an image of a space. The perceptual process of identity determines function is reversed to function determines identity as Filipinos acknowledge the importance of social elements within spaces.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ROUTES


Spaces become defined by the commute routes that make them accessible. Lack of pedestrianization within the city as well as heavy prioritization of vehicular transport lead to the diminishing importance of paths as a city element, to be rapidly replaced by public transportation routes for wayfinding.

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