WITH congestion already embracing our cities, and zoning and building laws often ignored, architects and planners are challenged to not only come up with designs that enhance the aesthetics and character of a place but also to incorporate practical design approaches to their projects.

When the usual “village” always equates with a huge land area where individual houses and communal amenities are built, it is no wonder that the concept of an “urban village” can rise in a city that is already crowded by development.

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In Mabolo, Cebu’s first urban village is rising to give people homes in the heart of the city, but coupled with a touch of village life.

Persimmon is a residential condominium project by Aboitizland “that truly takes into consideration the elements of its natural environment and fully integrates a leisure-dining-entertainment-service block within its design,” according to publicist Jing Jing Farraron. The accessibility of its location to the business district and watering holes makes it a convenient place to live in.

However, residents need not go far to satisfy their basic needs. Designed by an award-winning architectural firm from Manila, this urban village consists of four residential towers with 15 stories each. These are tucked into the interior portion of the lot, away from the roadway, for the privacy of its residents. Amenities like restaurants, shops and lifestyle outlets are housed in Persimmon Plus, which is an excellent front-liner near the main entrance.

The design of its spaces and buildings treads on the minimalist. This concept is not only in tune with what is trendy, but it has proven its practical facet to the current lifestyle of people with its clarity and timelessness.

With the hustle and bustle of urban living, one’s ultimate refuge in this urban village gives one the privacy and serenity of village life. Even the smallest of space in the units look more spacious than it is—achieved through immaculate white and beige walls, and less of the ornaments of classical origins.

No doubt about the careful planning and design but still it would make you wonder how it would be if it were designed by a Cebuano architect. Well, as residents need not go beyond their community, I hope Cebuanos would also realize that they need not go far to avail themselves of the service of Cebu-based architects since these experts have the best feel of the local vibe.

So, what’s in a name? Persimmon is a tree under genus Diospyros, which includes the local mabolo tree.

Mabolo trees will truly revive the feel that earned Barangay Mabolo—where this condominium development stands—its name.

It has been said that before modernization spread throughout this part of Cebu, mabolo trees flourished especially on the east coast of the city.

The development company plans to “restore the mabolo tree to its former glory” by including the trees in the landscaping of the property. This move would in turn enhance the area, which is dominated by old and dilapidated structures, through natural vegetation.

Urban residential developments prove the relevance of our cities as focal points for socio-economic activities. These spots are tantamount to magnets that attract almost all kinds of land use so that sometimes one would ask if zoning laws still exist. Well, they still do.

We must always bear in mind that every new building or development must always be sensitive not just to its clients and users but also to the preservation of the noteworthy character and image of the district or area in which it is nestled.