One of Placemade‘s pilot projects is to work on the Elementary School Park and waiting area. This was suggested by the Marikina City Government and supported by Barangay San Roque.
This urban diary will contain my observation notes, photos, and videos of the area, when I visited last Aug. 16, 2018.
The park is located at M.A. Roxas corner N. Roxas, right beside the San Roque Elementary School.
San Roque has a population of 17,945 (2015), and a land area of 115.79 has. (5% of the city’s land area).
Let’s divide the site into two parts:
- (1) Park (the yellow box); and
- (2) Parking area (the blue box)
Below is a video that looks into the two areas:
I visited the park on a Thursday, at 4-5PM, went around to take photos, and stayed to observe how people used the space.
From the video, we can also observe that:
- Kids continue to use what they can play with, in this case, jumping to reach tent bars, while other kids continue to watch
- Groups of people (youth, particularly) huddle together and dominate a certain bench for their use
- There’s a nice, big paw shape at the center of the park
- The concrete floor hasn’t been well-maintained, you can see some cracks, while paint on the floor and the benches has also faded
- Gravel is used to fill up the paw, which makes walking on most of the park uninviting (and easier for playing kids to get wounds, should they fall on the floor)
- Vegetation: There are four trees in the park area, and some shrubs that line the fences and school wall, but there is hardly any grass (wild grass pockets are visible)
- There are two entrances to the park, one on N. Roxas, and one coming from the adjacent parking lot / waiting area
- The side of the park has two big tents, and to its left (M.A. Roxas side), a tricycle TODA (local operations) desk and parked trikes cover the path to the sidewalk
Other thoughts from the observation, based on usual park activities, include:
- If I wanted to eat a snack, I wouldn’t have a table to put my food on
- There weren’t any trash cans nearby
- The traffic beside the park was terrible, so honking cars and pollution really affect the space
- I wouldn’t really stay for more than thirty minutes if I wanted to do some activities in the park (public spaces are supposed to be as comfortable as when you are at home), so chairs with backrests, tables, and play equipment / installations would improve the space
The Parking Area
For lack of a better name, the second space will be called “parking area” for the meantime, given how cars are parked in the space.
- If public spaces are supposed to feel inviting for people for them to use it, then spaces should be first and foremost clean. The “parking lot” had trash in some areas, a dead animal (which is a cause of concern for health and sanitation), and of course, the smell of the latter becomes deterrent
- Safety in public spaces is also key. While there were walls along the construction area and construction materials, there was still a risk, especially if kids would play openly on the space
- It felt awkward to try to sit beside the groups of men, putting sitting spaces that aren’t immediately beside each other may feel more welcoming
- Like the park, the space really as comfortable for doing activities
The Streets: N. Roxas cor. M.A. Roxas
The next steps would be to engage with the public space users (the nearby residents, the tricycle drivers, the school administration, and the students) on what they think could improve the park area, and how they can participate.
(End of diary entry.)