Sustainable City Dialogues 2012 Lessons Learned

The Sustainable City Dialogues 2012, a 5-day learning event featuring two internationally renowned speakers, Architect Senen A. Antonio, an urban design and planning expert based in the United States, and Dr. AbdouMaliq Simone, an urbanist and professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

The event was organized by the Research, Program, and Organizational Development of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board in partnership with the University of San Carlos-College of Architecture and Fine Arts, RAFI and other organizations.

The theme of this UCF event is “Creating Future Cities:  Where Do We Begin”.  As we all know, Metro Cebu is facing serious social, economic and environmental challenges resulting in declining competitiveness, quality of life, and rapid urbanization.

The goal of this event is to draw together a variety of stakeholders from government officials to planners, architects, engineers, educators, business people, NGO leaders, community members and students to engage in a constructive dialogue and strengthen the capacity of local planners on the possibilities of creating a smart and sustainable Metro Cebu.  Topics to be addressed throughout the 5-day event includes: New Urbanism and metropolitan design, livability issues, Smart Growth, city-region planning and governance, and urban sociology.

Archt. Senen (left); Dr.Simone (right)
Lessons Learned:
I most especially like Dr. AbdouMaliq Simone's presentation about human behavior and sociology in relation to creating change. Architect Senen A. Antonio's presentation was very interesting as well but it was quite technical, our LGU should hire him that's all I can say! Hehehehe

Here's Dr. Simone's shared story on creating change and creative problem solving (My favorite story!) ...'The Italian Tomato Garden'

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey . He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent, 
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.
Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried..

At 4 a.m. The next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you,

------> The story, when viewed in multiple perspectives can be very technical or deep depending on your knowledge and background; it can also be viewed simply or in a complicated manner but you cannot deny that in order to instill a change in our society, you can truly make a difference if you truly will it to be!

"Everyday acts and small acts build up over time. Tiny acts build when others emulate them, which builds until the world is convulsed by change. Change comes from millions of tiny acts that seem relatively insignificant." - Howard Zinn

Sustainable City Dialogues 2012 Lessons Learned Sustainable City Dialogues 2012 Lessons Learned Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. "Metro Cebu is facing serious social, economic and environmental challenges resulting in declining competitiveness, quality of life, and rapid urbanization." --> This I'm unaware. 
    Can you cite some examples? And I thought Cebu is hitting the goal in terms of development. Pardon my ignorance. Ugh.
    Dr. Simone's story is inspiring but too abstracted perhaps because of the philosophy behind it.

  2. coool ^_^ never thought metro cebu is facing those challenges mentioned in your blog, now I know haha ^_^ I agree, it's a nice story. Really when it comes down to it, it depends on individual's will ;)

  3. Cebu's a relatively big city to cover even for the Cebu City Government; we have mountain barangays who are still part of the city wherein dev't is slow; we are having more frequent FIRES and the age old problem of drainage and FLooding on the same areas; although the BPO sector is still booming, there are also more unemployment I guess due to high turnover, returning OFWs, decline of certain industries and sectors (MFG., export..and like) and surplus graduate of nursing; for health, well there are some barangays increased in incidences of dangerous yet preventable diseases such as dengue to name one; and the main topic of sustainable cities is that of Urban Development and Planning since it would seem there is no master plan and that the flyover issue is being raised and the increasing crazy traffic of Cebu city as well