A healthy sanctuary to go with the ‘new normal’
Having spent most of your waking hours inside your home over the past two months would have led to some realizations and revelations.
Either you have started appreciating a time well spent cooped up in the comfy, relaxing sanctuary that is your home, or you suddenly find yourself wanting more. You may have found yourself being productive working at home or you found it difficult to concentrate, becoming stressed and uneasy while ploughing through your daily tasks. You may have a newfound appreciation for the community or building you live in, or you may have begun noticing flaws, finding your space to be too constricting and lacking in things you have wanted for a home.
Architects and interior designers know all these too well. The way a building or community is designed and built has a profound effect on one’s productivity, mood and health. For instance, the lack of natural light source, proper ventilation and green open spaces alone has been known to negatively affect one’s overall well-being.
An article penned by Christele Harrouk in March this year for archdaily.com cited the psychology of space or “the study of human relations and behaviors within the context of the built and natural environments.” Harrouk pointed out that “lighting, colors, configuration, scale, proportions, acoustics, and materials address the senses of the individual and generate a spectrum of feelings and practices. From inducing warmth and safety, defining well-being, or creating a positive and efficient working environment, space can have a whole lot of impact on how we act or on what we feel.”
Wealth of benefits
And the same holds true for outdoor spaces.
Scores of studies have shown the wealth of benefits that can be had from having lush greenery and wide open spaces where people can walk, exercise, commune with one another, and get a refreshing breath of fresh air. Having these pocket parks spread across the community can already help relax one’s mind and body and generally, offset the stress of living in the city.
Journalist and urban planning researcher John Surico discussed “the power of parks in a pandemic” in his article for Citylab in April. He cited that “for city residents, equitable access to local green space is more than a coronavirus-era amenity. It’s critical for physical, emotional, and mental health… The COVID-19 pandemic should reawaken interest in parks and open spaces long overlooked by city officials, or unnoticed by city residents.”
Open spaces in cities
Although Metro Manila lacks adequate spaces, there are a few pioneering property developers that have taken on the task of providing lush parks within their communities.
Take the case of the 10-hectare Circulo Verde by seasoned developer Ortigas Land.
Tucked in a quieter nook in Quezon City, Circulo Verde offers a well-deserved sanctuary in the middle of the city, where you can easily enjoy nature alongside modern conveniences. It’s predominantly a residential community with support retail in a nice part of Metro Manila where residents get unique views and water features because of the Pasig River.
What’s good here is that residents get to revel in the wide open spaces within the community as only a third of the estate has so far been developed. Circulo Verde is currently home to five residential towers; a townhouse community; an Industria Mall where you can enjoy the parks, shops and exclusive recreational facilities; the CV Sports Hub; CV Pitch; a bike playground; CV Quad (basketball, volleyball, badminton court); and Hachi Park, which is an off-leash dog park.
But even though a second phase of development for Circulo Verde is in the offing, Ortigas Land is making sure that it will continue providing the much needed breathing space in this part of the urban jungle—like what it does in its other developments.
In Pasig, the 16-ha Ortigas East features wide pedestrian lanes and open spaces that make it easier to walk from one area to another—an advantage that surely comes in handy especially since this estate features multiple components (residential, offices, commercial, retail and entertainment hubs) that are strategically placed near one another.
For sure, nothing beats having a curated, diverse mix of offerings within a single estate just like all the developments of Ortigas Land.
But what makes its estates stand out is the fact that Ortigas Land also took to heart the importance of health and well-being of its residents, guests, tenants and workers—and it does so by meticulously and thoughtfully creating spaces not only inside the homes and buildings, but also outside one’s residence and within the community.
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