Manila Improstructure

Manila Improstructure

2015, Northeastern University
Area CivicUrban Development Medium Information VisualizationFilm Type Research

The project investigates and documents the social and creative practices around the electricity grid and the street lighting system of Manila, Philippines. Manila Improstructure examines the pockets of informality inside the formal urban infrastructures that structure our daily lives. Not only in the megacities of the global south, life is characterized by a constant struggle with infrastructure. The electricity grid, logistics and supply chains, telecommunication networks ? every system that is centrally planned and managed from above always requires some level of improvisation and tinkering from below in order to make the system work. These creative appropriations are, however, never part of the official representations of infrastructure; they are marginalized and difficult to observe. There is a misbalance between what we know about formal structures and what we can only infer about its informal practices.



  • Offenhuber, Dietmar Northeastern University
  • Schechtner, Katja Asian Development Bank, MIT
  • Julia Nebrija City of Manila