Governments, environmental groups, planners, designers, and concerned citizens have varied definitions and delineations of green space. Woods and Books would like to cite Greenspace Scotland’s definition as the one that hews closest to our idea of green space.

Greenspaces are the ‘green lungs’ of our towns and cities which contribute to improving    people’s physical and mental health by providing spaces for informal recreation                 —  walking, cycling, sitting, socializing, and children’s play— and ‘breathing spaces’ to take time out from the stresses of modern life.

Plaza Libertad in Iloilo City

Plaza Libertad in Iloilo City

In Iloilo City, except for plazas (public parks), spaces devoted to greenery rather than building structures are privately owned. Plazas have increasingly taken on the appearance and function of staging areas for sports, social, and political events, cultural and agro-industrial exhibits, commercial ventures, and government-funded activities, offices, and associations. Thus, instead of serving as nature centers, which Ilonggos can use for rest, recreation, and relaxation, these parks serve multiple purposes, often in direct contrast to their original purpose. Until recently, in most playground structures within these parks are broken and so severely damaged, they actually pose a health and safety risk to children who dare use them.

The remains of an old swing at Plaza Libertad.

A lonely, neglected slide.

In 2019, Mayor Joe Espinosa III unveiled new playgrounds that lifted our spirits and those of the communities around the city plazas. Judging by the enthusiastic response of children and their families, who flocked to these play structures, day and night, Iloilo City could do with many more of them.

After decades, the public playgrounds finally came alive again. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Mayor Joe Espinosa III.)

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