Urbanism in communities

by Steve Van Derodar

Metropica, a 4 million square foot master-planned community in Florida | Photo via SVDerodar

Wherever you point your eyes these days, it is undeniable that more and more communities have been created to meet the growing demands of growth. And while space is fundamental, developers consciously utilize residential designs for maximal benefit.

In the Philippines, living in well-designed communities comes with a privilege. It gives you a sense of security, safety, and satisfaction for an investment. Whether in buildings or villages, these communities are well thought of, and, understandably, developers’ vision includes designs that attract its clientele for its value proposition.

For the subject, urbanism in communities is seen as masterfully designed communities attracting residents with a high need for functionality, space for overall activities, and proximity to products or services. In short, designing with the comfort and convenience of their prospective residents in mind.

According to Dynamic Urban Design author Michael Von Hausen, “Effective urban design is much more than the sum of its parts. It is more than a building and a site; it is much more than a block and a street. Effective urban design is the seamless fit of design and context that pleases the eye and satisfies the soul. One design element seems to flow effortlessly into another, creating an integrated, cohesive whole, where form and function meet. Successful neighborhood designs of this caliber include the layout, architecture, and formality of Beacon Hill in Boston, heritage conservation projects in Mount Pleasant in Vancouver, Canada, and the timeless architecture of the residential and commercial community surrounding the Pantheon in Rome.” He added, ” Also noteworthy are iconic pieces of urban design such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, by Frank Gehry, and Montreal’s Habitat 67, by Moshe Safdie. Each of these projects leaves an indelible impression and has achieved special stature because each is sensitively designed for a specific purpose and respects or contrasts its urban context in a measured and purposeful way.”

“In the Philippines, living in well-designed communities comes with a privilege. It gives you a sense of security, safety, and satisfaction for an investment.”

Masterfully designed communities can be those with a master plan that depicts a lifestyle that complements the needs of its residents and even the populace of a certain radius. Most are those providing city living or suburban settings. These developments often feature contemporary architecture and what’s even spectacular is that they are integrated with shopping, dining, and entertainment components.

Urbanism in today’s developments is consistent with the elements of these so-called master-planned developments where landscaped pathways for biking and running creating lively connections to wide-open green spaces, interactive art, and even water features. However, urbanism in this context isn’t inclusive to all master-planned communities as developments can vary on location, type, and purpose.

It takes vision and genius that masterfully designed communities are testament to human brilliance, thanks to urban planners, urban designers, architects, and civil engineers making a blueprint turn into reality from forward-thinking perspectives.

Arriving in Manila In 2004, I was astounded by the development in Bonifacio Global City, and how it is today, it brings the wonders of a master plan realized. Likewise, today, we have appreciated so much from the developments in the Metropolitan area in Bay Gardens by Federal Land, the Entertainment City in Macapagal Ave, Ortigas’ Business district with its residential and commercial structures, The Century City by Century Properties, and many others. Known to many, Makati Central Business District is one of the most valuable and curated master-planned community projects by Ayala Land, which remains supreme in its urban design being the foremost business district in the Philippines.

“It takes vision and genius that masterfully designed communities are testament to human brilliance, thanks to urban planners, urban designers, architects, and civil engineers …”

Down South, Cebu City beams with massive developments aligned with highly urbanized designs. Several developments as well are undergoing in the regions. We see mixed-used developments in many parts of the country, especially residential components within commercial and office districts; building designs tend to be more sophisticated, if not futuristic, in character.

To date, we have seen towering buildings next to shopping malls. Yet, they maintain footpaths allowing walks to well-landscaped areas or otherwise; these enclaves offer massive gardens within their vicinity. As they say, there are several curated spaces within available residential lands possible.

With the growing need for quality spaces, you can expect every developer to bring forth its best from the market segment they intend to capture. One thing that you and I know, convenience has its price, and for those who are willing, it has its utmost value.

In all fairness, we can all take pride in what we have, and supporting for the same is a sign of our appreciation and affirmation of these concepts. Perhaps, it is the best way to promote fluidity in human living and dynamism while considering these communities’ sustainability.

“Urbanism in our communities is reflected in the demands of the times in providing ample, comfortable yet exceptional spaces for the consumers’ benefit.”

Although in a larger scale urban development, where these residential projects are located, the higher the demand for sustainability. It could mean maintaining a few unique identifiers that enhance the master-planned structures, making it complete. For the same reason, there are public realms such as parks and an eclectic mix of spaces for everyone’s appreciation of urban design. Can you imagine walking in tree-lined streets with the architecture of Antoni Gaudi or the designs of Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry? We have some sort of those, as our urban spaces have been sparsely structured with artistic pieces.

The sustainability elements in these communities are a true measure of its impact and efficiency, just as how big cities are made of. To borrow it from Judy and Michael Corbett, Designing Sustainable Communities, “A sustainable community is one that allows its inhabitants to live in a way that does not damage the environment or consume nonrenewable resources. At the same time, a sustainable community supports the realization of human potential.”

Urbanism in our communities is reflected in the demands of the times in providing ample, comfortable yet exceptional spaces for the consumers’ benefit.

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(Stevenson’sexperience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than 15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. ThroughPhil House Hunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit www.philhousehunters.com.Email at derodarsales@gmail.com.)

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