Reclaim Harrison Park: Save Manila

Reclaim Harrison Park: Save Manila

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Save Manila started this petition to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and

Following the success of the Save Rizal Memorial Sports Complex campaign three years ago, the RMSC is currently being rehabilitated and renovated for the 2019 SEA Games. However, the fight continues for more green spaces in the city as the Harrison Park area faces an unsure future. The Martells' contract with the city government is set to end in 2021. SM Prime is set to buy them out of the contract to redevelop the area into a mixed-use commercial area with residential components. Manileños might lose another opportunity to add greenery to its concrete jungle.

Harrison Park is originally one of the four major public parks envisioned by Daniel Burnham who created the masterplan for the City of Manila in 1905. With the area framed by Estero de Maviubig, Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard), and Vito Cruz street, landscape plans were prepared alongside revision. “Historically, the Harrison District itself was intended as a park to manage flooding in Malate while creating a civic space to anchor a pleasant and integrated community. Forgetting the historical function of an area leads precisely to the problems we see in that area today,” the Heritage Conversation Society emphasizes.

Unfortunately, only RMSC was completed before the war. The de facto Harrison park continued to act  as an extension of the RMSC with few amenities to serve children and adults. In the last 1960's, portions of the park were carved out to host Bangko Sentral Pilipinas and the Ospital ng Maynila, leaving the rest left out until the suspicious rezoning of the area into commercial use. Harrison Plaza mall and Century Park hotel will be built later on.

With the rise of Isko Moreno to mayoral seat of the City of Manila, a new hope for a greener Manila blooms. The residents of the City of Manila, as well other Filipinos, call on Mayor Moreno to reclaim Harrison Park as a parkland. Converting Harrison District back to green space will help

  • drain floodwater in Malate-Ermita area;
  • revitalize Fort San Antonio Abad, Metropolitan Museum, RMSC, and other attractions in Manila;
  • increase tourism potential for the city of Manila;
  • serve as much needed breathing space for surrounding institutions (BSP, DLSU, PSC) and the Ospital ng Maynila;
  • increase land value in surrounding areas and unlock higher commercial activity, and
  • most importantly, improve the quality of life in the city of Manila.


This petition calls for the Manila City Government to redevelop the current Harrison Plaza area into full open and green space. Public parks should be the first priority. Residential and commercial components like Paulo Alcazaren's proposal that only leaves maximum 10% percent of the current Harrison Plaza to commercial development is encouraged. For example, the area of Century Park and the lot beside it can provide an ample commercial space lucrative enough for business. The residential area across the Ninoy Aquino Stadium can also be turned a into high-rise public housing district area. The harmony between commercial, residential, and most importantly public spaces will ensure a revitalized Malate with the Harrison Park in the forefront.

Mayor Isko Moreno, reclaim the Harrison Park. As the lease contract ends in 2021, take back the park of the Manileños. A healthy environment and high quality of city living goes before economic interests. Both the cultural and economic development can be achieved in Harrison district. Make Manila greener, Save Manila.

The fight for a greener city never stops. Public spaces should be for the people. 

 

Suggested readings

Reimagining Harrison Plaza as a Park by Rachelle Medina

Statement on Rizal Memorial Sports Complex by Heritage Conservation Society

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