Putting the P(eople) in Planning

ALTERPLAN is a technical service NGO that promotes popular participation in planning. We have been around since January 1990, starting with a group of young women architects striving to contribute to the vision of a just and democratic Philippines with a nurturing built environment. Our work concerns space and the built environment as focal points for community organizing and development.

Partnering with people’s organizations and NGOs in various parts of the country, we came to realize that the role of architects and planners was not only, and in some cases not so much, to design and build structures, as to help ensure that the conditions in the natural and built environments of people and communities were supportive of their aspirations.

We support the efforts of underserved communities, their organizations, and other civil society groups in expressing those aspirations. We advocate a planning attitude and planning processes that recognize the ability and right of people to make informed decisions for themselves.

We also work with local governments and national government agencies that animate participative processes in urban planning and management.

A continuing program of ALTERPLAN that brings these elements together is the promotion of barangay-level disaster risk-sensitive shelter planning. In this program, ALTERPLAN seeks out at-risk, disadvantaged communities and work with them to build capacity and find ways of realizing their shelter agenda through self-help, national and local government support, and private sector partnership.

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What’s current with ALTERPLAN and partners

3 more at-risk Iligan barangays to launch risk-sensitive shelter planning

The City Council of Iligan unanimously voted for a Resolution approving a partnership with ALTERPLAN, DIB, and ICESDev to conduct barangay-level disaster risk-sensitive shelter planning (BDRSSP).

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Mactan Island Multi-purpose Co-operative starts construction on housing project

Mactan Co-op is developing a four-storey condominium building on its property in Barangay Cogon, Lapu-lapu City. Construction started in September 2020.

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Balete, Batangas residents partner with FAITH Colleges to become first-time homeowners

Seventy-five families residing within the Batangas Greenvale development, who have met certain qualifications, reached an agreement with First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) Colleges for the grant of uniform sizes of homelots.

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Our Services

ALTERPLAN’s services generally fall under capacity building for communities, NGOs and
local governments to understand spatial development and its role in people’s development.
ALTERPLAN employs the following methods for capacity building:

Technical and Other Assistance

ALTERPLAN provides technical assistance based on the needs and requests of our partners. We realize the multi-dimensional character of community needs and development, and aim to be responsive to the environmental, financial, technical, organizational, and socio-economic aspects of housing and urban development projects. Through our network of consultants and development partners, we are able to access and mobilize expertise for poor communities after determining with them their needs and courses of action.

We assist our partner communities and organizations with feasibility studies for financing applications, preparation of subdivision, site development, and housing designs, contract administration, formulation of deed of restrictions, documentation for application of permits, and registration of title and other instruments for ensuring secure tenure in housing. ALTERPLAN has also collaborated in humanitarian projects.

Training Workshops and Seminars

ALTERPLAN designs and implements training workshops and seminars. A number of urban poor communities, cooperatives and NGOs have benefited from customized modules designed for their needs in community planning and housing advocacy. We have also served as resource persons in training sessions organized by national and local government agencies.

Our priority in recent years has been the design and conduct of the training and planning workshop series for Disaster Risk-sensitive Shelter Planning in several cities. The workshop series is intended primarily for local civil society groups who wish to engage with their respective local governments in planning and budgeting for housing, disaster risk reduction and management, livelihoods and settlements-related development sectors. ALTERPLAN has also organized and conducted seminars and study tours on Cooperative Housing to introduce the principles and practices of self-help housing to interested sectors.


ALTERPLAN conducts research, including policy research, related to our areas of concern. Our methodologies include surveys, mapping, focus group discussions, interviewing, and review of literature. Research activities are always part of our participatory planning work, but we also undertake some research as stand-alone activities.

Our research subjects have included medium-rise buildings as housing solutions, land administration and management, housing finance, rental housing assistance, budget utilization of government agencies, solid waste management, cooperative housing development in the Philippines, and gender and the built environment.

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Technical and Other Assistance

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Training Workshops and Seminars

The IDP initiative: Towards inclusive, democratic, and productive settlements in Marawi and Iligan,
a partnership with DIB (Danish International Human Settlement Service), ICESDev (an Iligan-based NGO), PHILSSA (a national network of urban-based NGOs), and Lombay Ka Marawi (an organization of Marawi internally displaced persons), for the rehabilitation of Marawi IDPs. Supported by the Civil Society Fund of Denmark.

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Meet our Team



Executive Director


Training Coordinator


Admin and Finance Officer


Research Assistant

Contact Us


Units 3A and 3B, Casa San Jose

No. 30 Road 8, Project 6

Quezon City, 1104 Philippines

Working Hours

Monday-Friday: 08:00 - 17:00

Saturday-Sunday: CLOSED

Contact Info

Phone: +63 2 7757 1623

Email: alterplan@alterplan.org.ph

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