THE Garden Bloc at the Cebu IT Park was recently chosen as one of the finalists in the mixed-use development category of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Philippines Healthy Places Awards 2016. ULI is a global non-profit organization that seeks to promote the responsible use of land and to create thriving communities.
The special awards given for the first time in the Philippines recognize outstanding and innovative projects that promote healthy living through exceptional design strategies.
Ayala-led Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. launched the Garden Bloc at IT and BPO hub, Cebu I.T. Park in December 2015.
The Cebu IT Park is home to over 70 percent of Cebu’s BPO industry. This integrated, mixed-use, masterplanned community generates over 43,000 jobs, while also providing retail and residential spaces.
With its wide open green space for fun, casual dining and outdoor activities, the Garden Bloc has become the newest outdoor lifestyle destination where Cebuanos converge.
In creating the Garden Bloc, none of the existing trees—all endemic and indigenous to the Philippines—were harmed or removed from the property. The result was a unique breathable space in the middle of a bustling metropolis that encourages the members of the community to walk and converge outdoors.
Located at the heart of a mixed-use development, the Garden Bloc’s proximity and accessibility to work and residential buildings makes it easily walkable—promoting an active lifestyle and helping reduce carbon footprint from the use vehicles.
The highlight of the area is the variety of affordable outdoor dining options available. This especially benefits the growing number of IT and BPO workers in the area, providing a walkable destination for those who need a break from eight-hour shifts in front of a computer.
Aside from creating a fun dining experience, the Garden Bloc is also conducive to a range of outdoor activities. With its separation from vehicular traffic, the pathways provide a safe area for those who want to take a jog, without having to venture far from the city center.
The newly installed bike racks in strategic locations also help promote outdoor activity in the area. With wide-open spaces, the place is also ideal for light exercise, a family picnic, or even just to unwind with a book under a tree.
The 5000-square meter central events area of the Garden Bloc is also intended as an outdoor function area for exhibits, concerts, wellness and other events.
With its smaller cuts of leasable space and less costly operations of outdoor dining, the concept provides opportunities for small and start-up local entrepreneurs.
Despite being in operation for less than a year, the Garden Bloc has displayed how the community appreciates proximity to natural places, especially when complemented by a variety of interesting and interactive components.
This has become a model for future land development—presenting options which enhance the natural environment, while continuing to be a profitable business model for the company.