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Exclusive Development(s): Special Economic Zones and Enclave Urbanism in the Philippines


Jana Kleibert

Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main

Cities in the global South are transforming and are remade as they become embedded in globalised processes of production and service delivery. Relational economic-geographic perspectives have highlighted the role of translocal flows and multi-scalar actors. A network-lens, however, has primarily interpreted cities as the nodes in the transnationally coordinated production, and less so as sites, or places, of development and spatial transformation, which urban geographers have foregrounded in their analyses. In this talk, I draw on economic and urban geography literatures to understand the socio-spatial transformations in the globalizing city of Metro Manila, which simultaneously constitutes a node and a site in globalisation.

Based on grounded qualitative research, I explicate the rise of ‘spaces of exception 2.0’ that form globally connected but locally disembedded wealthy enclaves. I show how the articulation of the Philippines into global capital flows and transnational service production networks, its historically grown ‘anti-developmental’ state, and the rise of a powerful real estate sector together have led to a proliferation of exclusive transnational spaces. As special economic zones and gated communities both constitute ‘spaces of exception’ and empirically converge in the form of mixed-use urban enclaves, I analyse both in tandem to outline the fragmented and exclusive nature of the Philippines’ economic development in general, and Metro Manila’s urbanisation trajectory in particular. The contemporary enclave spaces epitomize an urban and national development model of ‘exclusive development’, based on spatial processes of post-industrial capital accumulation in enclosed spaces, in stark contrast to discourses on ‘inclusive development’. 


July 19, 2017


Internationales Kolleg Morphomata
Weyertal 59
50937 Köln