Benevolent Evictions and Cooperative Housing Models in Post-Ondoy Manila

Maria Khristine Alvarez

Published in Issue 1.1 // The Long Read

Keywords: Flooding; resilience; eviction; participation; Manila


In this paper, I forward the concept of benevolent evictions to describe a new mode of dispossession, whereby expulsions from the urban core to the periphery are facilitated through the deployment of benevolence as a technology of eviction. Drawing on the experience of a community association in Pasig City, a part of Metro Manila in the Philippines, I examine how benevolent evictions, as materialized in The Peopleโ€™s Plan, reconfigured community participation and activist contestations. I distill the politics of participation by troubling practices of inclusion in housing affairs and exclusion in flood control matters; and critically assess the implications of non-transgressive co-production models on organizing for housing justice. While democratizing housing solutions did not necessarily result in the democratization of participation, I argue that the contradictions that emerge present radical possibilities for rewriting the politics of participation toward the transformation of slum-state and citizen-state relations.

Maria Khristine Alvarez is a PhD student at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London. She is the recipient of the 2018 Gilbert F. White Thesis Award given by the Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. Her PhD research examines how “danger zone” evictions as a requirement and consequence of resilience-seeking in post-Ondoy (2009-present) Manila transformed coastal and riparian corridors in the urban core and created relocation hubs in the periphery.

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