Local students in urban planning and management are witnessing first hand the urban transformation process that’s changing the Philippine countryside. It’s history and economics right before their eyes. Philippine towns are the living laboratories. These students could write the textbooks themselves.
With the exception of Metropolitan Cities, rice farms are still part of the country’s urban landscape. In Luzon, it’s not surprising to see these farms bounded by subdivisions, malls, or industrial complexes. Working in CALABARZON in the mid 90s, I was witness to the slow and then rapid transformation of the area from a predominantly rice farming region into an industrial belt. I thought all a sleepy town needed are a critical mass of big investors, and they’re coming. Economic growth is inevitable and it will transform the land. The change is good, although the plan can be refined to reflect certain lessons of the past and from the growth trajectories of more developed nations.