By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP
A CLEAR proof of urbanization can be seen in the quick sprouting of buildings and the busy streets and highways. As more and more people go or migrate to the city, the need for infrastructure also becomes a major concern. And true to the prevailing concept of development among most government leaders and profit-focused developers, more concrete elements are being added to the already diminishing urban open spaces. Public open spaces like parks and plazas have become rare sights in our cities today.
“Before the rise of shopping malls and amusement parks we already have public parks and plazas where people gather around and spend their free time. It is a place for meet up and leisure strolls or just plainly a place to hang out. Plazas and parks, especially in Cebu, have become a landmark for Cebuanos which, for me, must be preserved. Though there is a need to adapt to industrialization, we must not forget to maintain these public parks and plazas as our way of keeping our culture and not having it eaten up by time and be left just in the books.” — Irish Dwight Remedio, lawyer
“Parks and plazas enable real community living where people enjoy a physical space that adds to a true quality of life: one that allows for recreation, social gathering, individual or group fitness like running and yoga, family time, and perhaps, meditation. Parks promote a more social and positive mindset — and creates a sense of balance. It recognizes that not everything in life is about work, and that people have room to roam beyond private spaces that seem too exclusivist and alienating at times.” — Dee Nicolas, assistant vice president (PhilamLife) / lecturer (De La Salle College of St. Benilde)
“Public spaces like plazas, parks and gardens are essential to any city to make it livable. Cebu right now is in need of open spaces that provide opportunity for social interaction, spaces that allow people to contemplate and connect with nature, and spaces that aid in circulation. Well-maintained public parks, gardens, jogging paths and bike paths are among the types of public spaces that are vital to civic health.” — Maya Franco, architect
“In my three years living here in Europe, public spaces like Parc Ciutadella back when I was studying in Barcelona and Lake Zürich now have always been lifesavers to recharge and release whatever negative energy I was carrying after a very tiring day in the university. It is also a source of inspiration. I get new ideas and draw inspiration from the environment around me. I strongly believe that the number of public spaces has an effect in raising the intellectual environment around us; hence, we should have more and better of them back home!” — Miguel Antonio Garcia, PhD student in neuroeconomics (University of Zurich)