October 20, 2017, 7:53 am
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Active life in a concrete jungle

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) has the unique advantage of being a new city built from the ground up. And its master planners use that advantage to the fullest.

The joint venture of Ayala Land Inc. and Evergreen Holdings Inc. that is Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., developer of the 240-hectare master-planned mixed-used BGC, goes beyond pushing bricks and mortar and edifices in shaping this city.

BGC is governed by a set of design standard guidelines (DSG) that all developers within the city adhere to. This serves as the bible in achieving BGC’s vision of a pedestrian-friendly, walkable city with plenty of open spaces that promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

“We have learned from the mistakes of the past and (those committed by) other power cities. That is the advantage of a new budding city that you build ground up based on a masterplan,” said Sean Luarca, retail marketing manager at BGC. 

Consider some of the following features of the DSG: a good pedestrian network system supported by “arcades” from buildings to protect pedestrians from the weather, kilometer-long linear parks, and pedestrian and vehicular access plans which prioritize pedestrians over motorists while minimizing traffic.

The grid system of BGC’s streets, adopted from those of the most advanced cities in the world, makes the city easy to navigate.

“It’s not just about business. Design is the most important thing. It goes back to the unique selling proposition of BGC: open spaces and walkability. There are developments within BGC left and right and these are growing exponentially. But (developers) always stick to the bible,” Luarca said.

Even the easement of 1.5 meters to the sidewalk has to be strictly followed despite attempts by building owners to maximize the use of these spaces.

Power and telecom cables are all buried underground, making BGC’s landscape clean and uncluttered.

Zoning divides BGC into six districts all of which have parks that are no more than five minutes away from any point in the city.

BGC also maintains a strictly density-controlled environment to ensure utilities will always be sufficient even when the city is fully developed.

Even as walking is encouraged, BGC has its own transport subsidiary/intelligent bus system that connects it to other townships.

BGC makes full use of these open spaces and parks with various outdoor “activations.”  Even retailers and building owners are highly encouraged to mount outdoor activities for their tenants.

“Active street life is the single thing that separates BGC from other estates. We take pride in our street life. Life happens in the streets (not just) in buildings. On weekends, we even close parts of roads to encourage BGCitizens (as residents and workers in BGC are called) to step out on the streets. One of our biggest battle cries is to encourage kids to go out and play on weekends,” said Joanne Magno, BGC city marketing assistant manager.

For example, De Jesus Oval Park on Fifth avenue is the site of a whole range of 
weekend activities from health and wellness, arts and crafts, garage sale, etc.

It also hosts the first ever dog park in Metro Manila.

High Street changes its events every week to cater to any BGCitizen, fromthe foodie tothe photo buff, pet lover and active lifestyle enthusiast.

Ninth avenue on certain days is car-free to become a big playground for themed games, including traditional games like piko andtumbangpreso.  

The pop-up park also has a giant Jenga, Snakes & Ladders, pick-up sticks, among others.

On weekends, the dedicated bike lane on Ninth avenue becomes the venue for bike lessons. 

BGC Greenway Park, a 1.6-kilometer stretch of landscaped expanse, is the longest urban park in Metro Manila.

Terra 28th and Track 30th are favorite running and jogging paths.

“BGC attracts sports buffs and enthusiasts. We would be the first to admit that maybe because our development is designed with plenty of open spaces and wide roads, (fitness buffs) organically converge here,” Magno said.

Luarca said BGC is also a cultural hub with its own theater, BGC Arts Center. Street art is very much welcome with walls in some of its streets splashed with murals.

The DSG calls for BGC to have its own art foundation that calls for art installations around the city.

BGC also has its own art program to develop potential artists/performers.

“All of these are part of the amenities and perks of a BGCitizen. Building owners are the first to voice out positive response,” Luarca said.

As 50 percent of its market are millennials, BGC makes sure it communicates well with this segment.

BGC has a day population of 900,000 which goes down to 85,000 at night.
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