Completed Research

APOAMF Low-Rise Building Project: Community-driven Housing Resilience for Informal Settler Families in the Philippines

University of Toronto

In the Philippines, Metro Manila is increasingly vulnerable due to regular exposure to typhoons coupled with environmental degradation and loss of resources. Residents living in Pasig City typically belong to informal settlements with a lack of housing security and access to basic services, such as water and electricity. In response to this problem, residents united under The Alliance of People’s Organizations along the Manggahan Floodway (APOAMF) and worked with the National Housing Authority to construct the Manggahan Low Rise Building Project, climate-resilient and designed to withstand flooding. The case study will explore this housing solution in Pasig City, Philippines.

Hard to Reach

Informal settler families in Metro Manila.

Key Takeaways

Throughout the development and implementation of the Low-Rise Building Project (LRBP), the community’s leadership, partnerships, and resilience appear to be key features that helped them mobilize from the bottom up to realize their housing rights. Four proposed lessons for other communities or policymakers that aim to create sustainable, safe, and accessible housing initiatives include:

  1. Recognize community-driven solutions in response to nationwide issues
  2. Engage in ongoing negotiations with the government during all project phases to maximize housing rights
  3. Social mobilization and poverty alleviation strategies contribute to the success and scalability of housing interventions
  4. Informal settler families have knowledge and lived experience to contribute to improving housing outcomes and should not be overlooked


We express our gratitude and appreciation to those we met and interviewed for sharing their insights and passions with us over the course of this project. These individuals from the following organizations were instrumental and generously devoted their time to help us learn more about the Low-Rise Building Project (listed alphabetically): Alliance of Peoples Organizations Along the Manggahan Floodway (APOAMF), Ateneo de Manila University, Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), National Housing Authority (NHA), Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Technical University Berlin, University of the Philippines Baguio, and Urban Poor Associates (UPA).

We also acknowledge our on-site research assistants, Luce Vida Sayson and Kloudene Salazar, who provided invaluable assistance in coordinating and translating the interviews. Thank you to Klarene Salazar for her early contributions to the project. We sincerely thank Drs. Sarah Haines and Amy Bilton who provided countless hours of mentorship and guidance throughout the research process.

This research received approval from the Ethics Review Board at the University of Toronto. Interviews conducted for this research were carried out virtually and in-person between April and May 2023.