Our Space: Caring for the Public Realm

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OUR SPACE is a project of the Urban Partnerships Program Philippines (UPP Phils) which is operating as an international arm of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Canadian International Agency. UPP Philippines has an ongoing partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government - Local Governance Resource Center (DILG - LGRC) Region VI, the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC), the Province of Guimaras, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region VI, and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat).

The program started off with an explanation of the rationale of the project by Jay Presaldo, the Assistant Program Manager of UPP Philippines. This is followed by a brief introduction of the resource speaker, Ian Malczewski, a Knowledge Management Specialist from the Canadian Urban Institute. After that was the Open Forum which involved an intense discussion that covered some issues heretofore unexplored in connection with civic journalism.

The following is a brief overview of the Urban Partnerships Program Philippines, what the public realm is about, and what the Our Space project aims to achieve. Most of it is taken from the news release distributed among the participants in the said launching event.


UPP Phils support their partners in developing partnership model approaches on urban and regional governance as a contribution to urban sustainability and poverty reduction by reawakening and promoting the Filipino tradition of bayanihan through sharing of ideas and doing actions that promote the following:

  • Civic Engagement - Engaging citizens and communities in consensus building dialogues, planning and actions implementation
  • Urban Leadership and Capacity - Supporting capacity development activities, organizational changes and leadership development initiatives
  • Ideas For The City - Generate and share knowledge through action research, symposia and toolkits that unearth new approaches in urban and regional governance

The work the UPP Philippines do revolve around four themes:

  • Building The Regional City - Working for collective decision-making on urban issues and project
  • Renewing the Public Realm - Pursuing a collective agenda towards improvement of community assets and “common good” actions
  • Regenerating the Economy - Supporting the creation of a vibrant and prosperous local economy that helps restore the environment and social damages, and promotes economic democracy
  • Making Democracy Work - Advocating for “civic-grounded” urban and regional governance where all are working for their communities

So through the OUR SPACE program UPP Philippines and the CUI in cooperation with their local partners and the community’s stakeholders aim to achieve the following goals:

  • increased multi-stakeholder participation in local governance and development
  • enhanced capacity and leadership within local governments, community groups and sectors
  • improved and more sustainable social, economic and environmental conditions for communities
  • enriched body of knowledge about good urban governance practices available to the Philippines, Canada and internationally


Through the following channels the UPP Philippines support the OUR SPACE Program stakeholders by

  • organizing conferences, workshops and forums on cutting-edge ideas and thinking on urban and development issues
  • providing facilitation and consultation services on regional and urban governance
  • developing and providing long-term results-based management to organizations and programs

The Canadian Urban Institute Philippines holds office at

3rd Floor, ATM Business Center
Corner Jalandoni-Ledesma Streets
Iloilo City 5000 Philippines
Telfax: +63 33 3367827
Email: cuiphils@canurb.com