It’s Not a Condominium, it’s a 20-storey high Vacuum Cleaner

It seems that the current trend in gentrifying communities is to take people not just off the streets but above them. Take Makati, a classic example of the private sectors ongoing attempts at putting on a nice clean front for this third world backwater. There is NOTHING on the streets. People are connected from high rise to high rise by bridges so the cars have sole domination of the ground. Nobody lives close enough to the ground, except to guard what rises above, which shows how literally we’ve taken this whole idea of living the high life.

Now compare this to the rectum of Metro Manila–which could be a lot of places but let’s stick with Quiapo for the sake of convenience–where everything happens at street level. People are literally crowded into the urban avenues with the cars and the sewers and the smog. Not to romanticize the situation because it’s a hassle to have to move though this kind of cityscape each day.

Not to romanticize the situation, but honestly if it were just people on the ground, the city wouldn’t be so crowded, but it’s not just people, it’s buildings. and at this rate it seems like the people are just sharing the space with the buildings.

There’s something Malthusian about the rate at which private corporations are going to gentrify Makati. Seriously, these are places that charge rents that are more than quadruple what the average minimum wage earner in this country earns. These are areas that remind us of just how much ONE private corporation can afford to compensate for where the government falls short in its capacity to provide something as vital as housing. But looking at these areas, it’s like inverse socialism.

What we’re actually creating here is a microcosm of an ideal city life where, yes people are forced to live in an edgy proximity that fosters cultural growth. However the tastes catered to and the aesthetics being followed brazenly point to the choice private corporations have made to protect their own.

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Author: alicesarmiento

San Juan, Metro Manila

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