Laguna Lake, the largest lake in the Philippines, supports the region’s agriculture, power generation, and recreation. During heavy rains, water flows are diverted from nearby rivers to Laguna Lake, which acts as a temporary reservoir, flooding homes around the lake.
In Urban Ecologies on the Edge, Kristian Karlo Saguin unpacks the narratives of Laguna Lake as a frontier distinct from and simultaneously in service to Manila. Flood control in Metro Manila has deep roots in modern attempts to manage storm waters through infrastructure. In keeping the city dry and enabling city-making to continue, infrastructure redistributes risk elsewhere, a process that results from and that creates imaginaries of what non-city landscapes should be. Using ethnographic and historical accounts, Saguin demonstrates how people—powerful and marginalized—interact with the state and the environment to produce a thriving but unequal urban landscape.