How to Give Your City a Soul


TEDxVictoriaHarbour was organized and curated by Craft House Consulting as a way to share new and innovating ideas on travel and tourism. In 2012, Carlos Celdran spoke at the merits of building a city for its people, and not for tourists and Craft House couldn't agree more. To be sustainable, developers must always think about the short and long term impacts they have on the communities and environments where they operate.   

What you have to do to give your city a soul, you need 3 things: Eat Pray Live

  1. Food shows what a society lives on.  If a city has too many fast food shops, it shows how your people live and think.
  2. Use local produce to create signature dishes.  Be authentic.
  3. Take care of public markets and not private malls - public markets are a sign of how the government treats and values the local people
  4. Be creative - lack of local crafts show the lack of creativity.  Don't have too many antique shops.  While it may seem like a good idea, your local heritage is going to go into someone else's living room.
  5. Pray - not just the institutions we know.  Celebrate something new or old.  Education systems, churches, cemeteries and even intangible souls like massage therapies, folk stories,
  6. Live - look at your infrastructure and city as theater.  Look at hotels, vistas, heritage, public spaces, skylines, etc.  Too many malls in a city
  7. Treat a public space as well as you do a private space because it shows others how you care for your community.
  8. Honor your heritage buildings.
  9. Honor the environment including the cleanliness of your rivers, public spaces, and the little details.
  10. Work with what you have.  Don't build for tourists.  Build for your people.  Don't spend on tourism attractions, build better spaces for your community because if you do, people will come.  Also because people can smell inauthenticity in a second.

About Carlos Celdran

One of the more polarizing figures in the Philippines, Carlos Celdran is first and foremost a performer. His performances and opinions have cut through the fabric of Filipino society by questioning it with a razor and a sign. He is most known for his Intramuros tours that journey people back in history and time, showing what was once lost and forgotten in a new modern, and sometimes harsh light of day. Be that as it may, there is still a tenderness to his tours, almost like a nostalgia of bygone days. He injects humor into the story that he weaves, making it a little bit easier to bear under the humid Philippine weather.

Visit his site for information and dates on his Intramuros Tours