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THE GEOGRAPHY OF INSECURITY: SPATIAL CHANGE AND THE FLEXIBILIZATION OF LABOR IN METRO MANILA

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ABSTRACT: 

There has been considerable attention in the urban studies literature to the implications of spatial change associated with globalization for the urban poor in advanced economies, but much less so in developing countries despite the fact that this is where most urbanization is occurring. This article attempts to address this issue in the context of Metro Manila, a globalizing city of 10.7 million that sits in a larger mega-urban region of some 17 million. It does so through an analysis of data collected through two methods: a sample survey of six low-income settlements in the Metro Manila region that collected information about housing conditions, income, and employment of household members, commuting, and household heads' opinions regarding spatial change; and in-depth interviews with a subset of respondents that were intended to generate narratives and stories that would elucidate the experience of households with spatial change. The study identifies three main issues confronting the surveyed households: the social impacts of the flexibilization of labor in the Metro Manila region, gender and age differences in access to employment, and the prevalence of extremely long commutes on the urban fringe. The article concludes that the issues faced by Metro Manila households are in many ways quite distinct from those in cities in advanced economies. It further argues that these differences have important implications both for urban policy and practice in addressing equity issues, and for theories of globalization and issues of spatial change and social equity in cities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Michigan

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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