American Colonial Urbanism References: A Historic Lens

Government Report: Burnham, D. H. (1905) ‘Report on Improvement of Manila’,  Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission 1905. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, pp. 627-635.

This is the very original report that Daniel Burnham submitted in 1905 to the US government for the city planning of Manila, which is of great importance to our research. Began with a brief historic and present conditions review, the main body of the report is divided into five parts: development of water front with park system, street system, civic services location, waterways as transportation and  Baguio as summer resorts. Finally He suggested a future construction methods that pay a lot of respect to the previous Spanish architecture.

Journal: Morley, I. (2011) ‘The cultural expansion of America: Imperialism, civic design and the Philippines in the early 1900s’, European Journal of American Culture, 29(3), pp. 229-251.

This journal article focus on the analysis of Baguio and Manila planning in 1904-05 by Daniel Burnham. The strategy is considered to reflect the American’s mindset of re-establishing a new identity from the Spanish colonial past and civilizing the Philippine archipelago. The ideology applied in Manila is a projection of American’s own cultural and socio-political revolution at the time. The author has widely written on the issues of urbanism and the built environment during the late 19th century and early 20th century. There are several publications on Manila including a conference paper City Designing and Nationhood During the Early 1900s: Civic Design in the Philippines (2012) and America and the Philippines: Modern Civilization and City Planning (2011) in the Journal Education About Asia. The themes and ideas are similar but the journal cited here is considered as the most comprehensive one.

Journal: Vernon, C. (2014) ‘Daniel Hudson Burnham and the American city imperial’, Thesis Eleven, 123(1), pp. 80-105.

Another recent article that looks at Daniel Burnham’s planning from an American imperialism point of view. The victory of the war with the Spanish granted Americans the land of Philippines along with many other colonial territories which was somewhat unexpected. The Americans therefore possessed a less ruling desire but more a conception of “modernizing” the uncivil archipelago. This article also provides lots of cross-references to projects within the US’s territory such as the Washington D.C. and at the same time strategies in other colonies.

Book: Brody, D. (2010) Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Also building up arguments based on imperialism, Brody’s books address the issue through the lens of representations and reads closely to vast visuals such as maps, mass media, photos and architecture itself.  Chapter 6 Building Empire: Architecture and Imperialism in the Philippines in particular talks about how Daniel Burnham’s urban planning is appropriating architecture to manifest colonial administrative and business interests.

Book: Torres, C. E. (2010) The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921. The Philippines: The University of the Philippines Press.

While most of the accessible references are from the foreign lands, this book provides a precious perspective from a scholar of the home country Philippines. The analytical framework of Torres is quite different from the previous references. Instead of talking one-sided focus on American imperialism, this book is organized based on cross-cultural relationship between both parties. Major aspects include not only infrastructure and urbanism but also health and education.

Visualizing bookAmericanization Book

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