A road network that’s more human-oriented,has accessible third places, more civic spaces and houses that are appropriate to the environment.
Architect Senen Antonio of the Duany-Plater Zyberk & Company (DPZ) gave these examples of how to implement the concept of smart growth in Cebu.
He also challenged urban planners and stakeholders to integrate quality development and quality of life amid rapid development during a forum last Friday at the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
Antonio defined smart growth as a theory on new urbanism that promotes economically, environmentally, and socially responsible growth by looking at connections between development and the quality of life.
He cited New York and Paris as examples of places where this concept was applied.
“But Paris and New York are well-loved by countries,” he said. “What’s with these two cities?”
Both these places had rapid developments but they considered their scheme of transportation, which other cities failed to consider, he said.
“They have human-oriented pedestrians where pedestrian and vehicles work harmoniously,” he said.
He compared their road networks with those in Manila where there’s an outrage of land use and the thoroughfares are hostile to pedestrians.
“The word commercial translates to traffic,” he said referring to the roads in Epifanio de los Santos. Avenue (Edsa) that are filled with billboards.
Smart growth pushes for the concentration of growth in compact, “walkable” urban communities to avoid urban sprawl, he said.
There should be room for the public.
“It’s all about the cars, “not for humans.” Humans first before cars,” he said of the present road network in the country.
Another factor to consider is having accessible third places, which is an architectural term meaning a place between home and the workplace.
“First place is the home; second place is the workplace; and third place is in between home and workplace,” he said.
He said an example of a third place establishment would be boutiques in the ground floor with residential areas and commercial establishments above it.
This set-up would encourage people to walk rather than drive because their workplace, place of leisure and other services would be accessible, said Antonio.
Smart growth communities also have civic spaces which should be integrated with its mixed-use areas.
He said these areas wouldn’t have to be green spaces but open spaces with a cultural element such as the Plaza sa Sugbo where the Magellan’s Cross is located and the Plaza Miranda in Manila.
“Open space is an embodiment of communities’ identity,” he said.
Another factor he mentioned is to build houses which are climatically responsive.
“One should use renewable materials,” Antonio added.
The forum is in line with the Mega Cebu Program of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC) of the RAFI.
It was attended by members of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDB), representatives of the local government unit, urban planners, engineers, architects and students from different universities. /Correspondent Tweeny M. Malinao