Lifestyle

This 1905 City Plan Shows What Manila Could've Looked Like

Inside urban designer Daniel Burnham's scrapped grand plan for Manila.
IMAGE PIKREPO
Comments

The Burnham Plan For Manila is something a lot of architects, urban planners, and map enthusiasts look at with a heavy heart. It's often considered "paradise lost" as it championed streets, parks, railroads, and public buildings.

The plan would adapt Manila to modern needs much like Georges-Eugène Haussmann's renovation of Paris. Unfortunately, it didn't fully come to fruition. See what Manila could've looked like if things went right.

American urban designer Daniel Burham had prominent roles in the development of Chicago, Washington, and more.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

He was invited by Governor General William Howard Taft to transform Manila during the American occupation.

CONTINUE READING BELOW
Recommended Videos

Burnham stayed in the Philippines for a number of weeks, studying the country's layout and needs.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

In 1905, Burnham presented his plan for Manila, which was patterned after Paris, Venice, and Naples.

Photo by PIKREPO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

"Possessing the bay of Naples, the winding river of Paris, and the canals of Venice, Manila has before it an opportunity unique in history of modern times, the opportunity to create a unified city equal to the greatest of the Western world with the unparalleled and priceless addition of a tropical setting," Burnham wrote.

Burnham's plan features wide radial avenues, plenty of greenery, and a government center.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

He proposed five major points, starting with a plan to develop the waterfront as a main area of recreation.

This included a re-envisioned Luneta Park that would be placed on reclaimed land. Burnham thought that this would be an urban design element.

Next, Burnham wanted a street system that allowed easy travel among the many districts of the city.

The third plan focused on proper areas for buildings of various programs.

This included a new hotel, which doubled as a resort and casino, boat clubs, and schools.

Burham's plan included the development of the Pasig River as a transportation canal.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The last feature in his five-point proposal was the creation of summer resorts in Laguna and Bataan.

Before Burnham's Plan For Manila could be realized, the Second World War erupted.

Photo by PXFUEL.

Still, a few parts of the plan did come into fruition such as today's Roxas Boulevard and much of Luneta Park.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Though Burnham's Manila plan was only partially realized, his plans for Baguio were much more successful.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
Comments
View More Articles About:
More Videos You Can Watch
About The Author
Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
View Other Articles From Paolo
Comments
Latest Feed
Load More Articles
Connect With Us