Publications

2017
Saguin, K. K., Chanco, C. J., Tan, A. I., & Ortega, A. A. (2017).

Reclaiming social equity in land use planning for sustainable cities

. Public Policy, 18, 99-126. WebsiteAbstract
The rapid growth of Philippine cities has brought a host of problems and challenges, including sprawl, environmental degradation, unemployment, lack of adequate housing, increased vulnerability to hazards, and an overall decline in the quality of life of urban residents. As Mega Manila expands, its peri-urban fringes face the pressure of conversion to urban land uses, while core urban areas grapple with various urban issues on zoning and land use change. Given these issues, land use plans and policies serve as important sites of intervention in moving toward urban sustainability. Beyond issues of enforcement on the ground, this paper argues for the need to examine, evaluate, and refine the guiding framework for land use planning. We propose three ways of approaching urban land use planning and policy based on a review of relevant documents and field research in two case study sites. First, we emphasize the need to broaden sustainability as a guiding framework for land use planning by emphasizing social equity and justice as a crucial component of sustainable development. Considering these may promote community interests that do not necessarily fit within an economic growth or ecological integrity imperative. Second, we advocate building on efforts to improve community participation in land use planning. Our field accounts suggest opportunities for further participation of communities in crafting land use plans and related projects. Third, we suggest including other spatial approaches and imaginaries practiced by local communities in everyday life. We identify the merits of a deeper engagement with communities and use the example of community mapping as a tool for planning land use. Increasing community participation and incorporating other planning methods will contribute to better realizing social equity in planning for just sustainability in cities.
saguin_etal_2017_equity_land_use.pdf
Saguin, K. (2017).

Mapping Access to Urban Value Chains of Aquaculture in Laguna Lake

. Aquaculture. WebsiteAbstract
Urbanization has become a significant driver of aquaculture in the rapidly expanding cities of the global South. Using a case study of Laguna Lake and Metro Manila in the Philippines, this paper disaggregates the urban as a driver of aquaculture, and examines the social relations that structure urban-oriented aquaculture. It integrates access analysis with the value chain heuristic to identify how urbanization shapes domestic aquaculture value chains, and to map access mechanisms for firms and actors engaged in these chains. Macro-level urban processes drive aquaculture in at least four ways: as a source of demand for fish, as a source of input and capital flows, as a set of activities that transforms sites of aquaculture production, and as a sociocultural discourse. Micro-level mapping of access in the urban value chains shows a multitude of actors who derive benefits that range from direct participation in fish production and exchange to the indirect consumption benefits associated with lower-priced fish. Benefit and access mechanisms are unevenly distributed across the chain, and are configured and reinforced by social relations tied to place-based institutional contexts. Access analysis of urban value chains within the framework of urban drivers presents a means to evaluate the sustainability, poverty alleviation and development goals of aquaculture amid increasing urbanization.
2016
Saguin, K. K. (2016).

States of Hazard: Aquaculture and Narratives of Typhoon and Floods in Laguna de Bay

. Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints, 64(3-4), 527-554. WebsiteAbstract
Aquaculture, a modern scheme introduced by the Philippine state to improve fish production and livelihoods, has resulted in contradictory outcomes in its four-decade history in Laguna de Bay. This article examines the fate and trajectories of these modern schemes through the lens of hazards. It situates the place of typhoons and floods in the introduction and regulation of pen aquaculture technology, and in the practices of living with hazards among aquaculture producers in the lake. In both cases hazards are considered as intrinsic to their narratives rather than as external forces that occasionally disrupt human plans.
Saguin, K. (2016).

Blue Revolution in a Commodity Frontier: Ecologies of Aquaculture and Agrarian Change in Laguna Lake, Philippines

. Journal of Agrarian Change, 15(4), 571-593. Link to ArticleAbstract
Aquaculture presents a radically different way of producing fish that aims to transcend the limitations of capture fisheries but that in turn creates new forms of agrarian and ecological transformations. Using the case of Laguna Lake, the paper probes how aquaculture production and corresponding agrarian transformations are inextricably tied to dynamics in capture fisheries in multiple ways. It emphasizes the fundamentally ecological nature of the relations between aquaculture and capture fisheries through a discussion of three interrelated features of agrarian change: commodity widening through the production of a commodity frontier, aquaculture producer strategies of working with materiality of biophysical nature, and the attendant consequences of these processes for agrarian configurations. By examining the appropriation of nature in commodity frontiers and situating relations between aquaculture and capture fisheries as historical-geographical moments in commodity widening and deepening, the paper highlights the centrality of nature in agrarian change.
2014
Saguin, K. (2014).

Biographies of fish for the city: Urban metabolism of Laguna Lake aquaculture

. Geoforum, 54, 28-38. Link to Full TextAbstract
This paper examines the complexities of producing fish for the city and substituting wild with farmed fish. Using the urban metabolism framework and commodity biographies approach, it takes the case of peri-urban aquaculture in Laguna Lake, Philippines and focuses on the metabolic transformations of bighead carp, an introduced lake fish primarily consumed in nearby Metro Manila. Increased lake production of cheap fish like bighead carp did not immediately result in greater urban consumption, which remained limited owing to consumer unfamiliarity and the material characteristics of the fish tied to its production in the lake. By following the fish, the paper tells the story of how bighead carp has been and is being made amenable for urban consumption in Metro Manila’s wet markets, kitchens and fish processing sites. It discusses the material practices associated with the transformation of fish in their displacement through the metaphors of distancing, entanglement, frictions and flows. It argues that particular relations between fish and the aquatic environment materially produce fish that is in turn metabolized in the city through everyday practices that reconstitute fish commodities. These practices show that despite the production of more cheap fish, the substitution of capture fisheries by aquaculture is a messy process that reflects metabolic contradictions that fish materially embody and that have material effects on fish production and consumption.