February 6, 2018  |  14:00 – 17:30

The Marble Hall, Ayuntamiento de Manila, Bureau of the Treasury,
Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

Manila’s extraordinary 500-year recorded history—written, erased, and rewritten—has rendered a current urbanized condition that is among the world’s most extreme, with great tensions. This mega-city of 25 million is ripe with poverty and affluence, congestion and release, pollution and ecological diversity. Yet amidst these contradictions and extremes is a vibrant, dynamic human fabric with global aspirations and vast potential.

Manila is the subject city of the third and final year in the Southeast Asia research studio co-organized by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and AECOM. With the theme “Manila: Future Habitations”, this studio will focus on three strategic areas within or adjacent to Manila’s historic core: the Port of Manila, The Baseco Compound, and the historic Intramuros and “Burnham Plan” monumental core and Adjacent Pasig Riverfront, where infrastructure, architecture, and challenged ecologies are in need of alignment.

This studio will focus on the design of human settlements, new types of dwellings, the connective tissue and common ground of cities, and the challenge of designing for the human condition against future tensions. The February forum is an integral, first part of a months-long research studio program where thoughts and ideas will be presented and discussed by the faculty and students of Graduate School of Design as well as some of Manila’s most prominent urban designers and planners.

Event Agenda

13:30 – 14:00

Guest Registrations

14:00 – 16:30



Sylvester Wong
Vice President, Strategies & Development, Buildings + Places, Philippines, AECOM

Welcome from AECOM Philippines

Arnel Casanova
Country Representative, Philippines, AECOM

Welcome from Intramuros Administration

Guiller Asido
Administrator of the Intramuros Administration

Opening Remarks

Sean Chiao
President, Asia Pacific, AECOM

Philippines Keynote

Senator Sonny Angara
Senate of the Philippines
17th Congress

Harvard GSD Welcome and Remarks

Mohsen Mostafavi
Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design
Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Presentations by Harvard GSD Students

Students led by

  • David Rubin
    Design Critic in Landscape Architecture
    Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Špela Videčnik
    Design Critic in Architecture
    Harvard University Graduate School of Design


“Reclaiming the heart of the City: The Role of Manila in the Socioeconomic Growth of the Philippines Nation”

  • Karen Davila (Moderator)
    Journalist and Television Presenter
  • Jose Lim (Panelist)
    President, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation
  • Ipat Luna (Panelist)
    Undersecretary for Manila Bay Concerns and Related Water Concerns
    Philippines Department of the Environment and Natural Resources
  • Arturo G. Corpuz (Panelist)
    Member, Board of Directors, Ayala Land, Inc.
    Formerly, Group Head, Urban and Regional Planning Division and
    Central Land Acquisition Unit
  • Mario Delos Reyes (Panelist)
    Dean of University of Philippines, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Avelino Tolentino III (Panelist)
    Deputy Secretary General of the Housing and
    Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)
  • Henry Yap (Panelist)
    General Manager, Robinsons Land Corporation

Closing Remarks

Sylvester Wong
Vice President, Strategies & Development, Buildings + Places, Philippines, AECOM