CÉLINE C. MERTENAT
Resilient neighbourhoods can rely on 3 key principles : strong community links, a local economy that addresses basic needs and a territory that protects the community and sustains the economy. Because resilience is a matter of living within its means, it leads to empowered and autonomous communities.
Valenzuela is vulnerable with persistent floods, poor connectivity, unadapted houses and little public space. Territory must stop being destructive and should be intimately woven with community uses. Paghabi stands for weaving in Filipino.
A new embankment against the existing dyke will protect the river and provide an alternative shared road to city centre. Heavy bamboo plantation will help shifting to a local vegetation-based construction system. Most of all, this common good will be a green space close to everyone’s home !
New Barangay Houses provide training and jobs in one specific field each. Put together they form a complementary web that produces bamboo house pieces and food with floating gardens, among other goods and services. Barangay Houses also become the primary place for social gatherings, which make the community stronger.
People will be free to build houses as they like, but they will be raised on collective platforms made of bamboo cubes to put them out of flood’s reach. Ground floor provides various utility spaces. Houses are lighter, with a bamboo frame and a double-sided panelled envelope, but binded together to withstand strong winds. A shared house, built rock-solid on every platform, can face the strongest winds.
While floods have become smaller, help points have multiplied. Every shared house and Barangay House offers shelter and basic services, along with 3S and ALERT Centres.
Drainage is improved with abandoned rice paddies turned into retention pools, and repairs are cheap, quick and easy since raw materials, know-how and people are available on hand !