“COMMUNITY ARCHITECTS NETWORK (CAN) is a regional network of community architects and planners, engineers, young professionals, lecturers and academic institutes in Asian countries. Established in 2010, the network has been supporting community-driven projects under the Asian Coalition for Community Action program (ACCA) regarding people housing, city-wide upgrading, and recovery from disasters. We believe the role of community architects is to build the capacity of people, by participatory design and planning process to make people be their own solution. “
- bring together active CAN groups in Asia, in reflecting on the value of their work of supporting the upgrading initiatives of communities,
- be able to share and apply planning and design skills of participants in finding solutions to actual local initiatives
- provide opportunity of exposure of participants to select a city-wide or an area- wide approach
in finding community-driven solutions to shelter- and built environment-related issues
- use the opportunity to promote community-driven and participatory planning and design approaches and processes to local universities and to groups of technical professionals; and
- promote community-driven processes in housing and upgrading, particularly in the areas of participatory planning and community-managed implementation to key government shelter agencies
The University of the Philippines – Task Force Arki (UP-TFA), served as the local secretariat to CAN for the event. For 27 years, UP-TFA has committed itself to the development of awareness and initiating active solutions regarding the urban poor, current housing situations and related social issues, both to the students and the public. This similar vision in utilizing one’s knowledge and skills in architecture paved the way for UP-TFA to be involved and eventually be part of the network.
The 9-day workshop started with an overview of the Philippine urban development and urban poor context. It discussed the state of development in the country, especially that of settlements in the highly urbanized areas of Manila. For a better perspective on the issue, all the delegates are provided the chance to visit three communities (all of which are related to issues of informal settlements of the urban poor
and the community-initiated efforts done by their respective associations and the initiated projects by the government and concerned organizations).
With a gauge of the issues and their contexts, the current state of actions to these issues and the possibilities foreseen with the said efforts, panel discussions were done to deepen their understanding and generate ideas from different points of view. This also progresses to a macro-approach in the intercontinental issue of the urban poor, not only in terms of settlements but in living as a decent human
being of the society. The discussion topics are as follows: Direction of People’s Development & Sustainable Community Building, The Role of Community Artisans & Builders in Sustainable and Scalable Community Upgrading, New Education towards Designing with and for the Other 90%, The YP Spirit: The importance of Young Professionals and starting young, and Sustaining Work as a Community Architect: Experiences of Professional Community Architect Groups.
all the harnessed energy in the meetings into good use. The event follows through with a 4-day immersion in selected communities in Caloocan city, Valuenzuela city and Bocaue, Bulacan. This is where all the delegates apply their skills in working with the community while imparting to them their technical expertise. It is also a perfect avenue for first-timers to experience community work first-hand. Young professionals like the members of UP TFA, who share the same vision of architecture or any professional field but are not yet duly licensed, gained immense learning in this. They felt how active an organized community can really work together. They were able to show their purpose with the architecture that they only get to experience within the confines of the classroom. They were able to see how the profession of architecture is applied.
What could have been considered as the best part in this entire experience is that it has acknowledged the power that there is in every one of us. There is power in the community in initiating organization among them up to achieving possible solutions to their problems. There is power in our society to gather, impart our
knowledge, offer our skills and help one another. There is power in our leaders who selflessly live up to the trust bestowed to them by the citizens through proper service. There is power in volunteerism which is less of the “self” and more of the “us”. And most especially, there is power in the youth who should never consider a mere number of one’s existence as a determinant in what they can and cannot do.
It is true that people can make a change. WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE.