One evening, my sister and I decided to take out my visiting father to dinner at one of those fancy concept restaurants near my office. The restaurant was one of the many fine-dining establishments and retail shops in a popular residential and commercial complex.
My father was in awe of the complex. The restaurants and retail shops were buzzing with people that night, and it was a weekday. We even spotted at least a group of runners probably heading to a nearby park to train. The local bookstore was teeming with customers and bookworms checking out the latest releases.
He then looked up, and observed a number of residential units a couple of floors above the establishments. There was light on a couple of units, presumably from the homeowners settling home in their dining or living rooms after a day’s work.
The concept of homes built on commercial establishments was not foreign to my well-traveled father. However, it was still a refreshing real estate concept for him considering the fact that our homes in the province still require him to commute to go somewhere.
“Pero ‘di ba sila (the residents upstairs) naiingayan, Anak?” Father mused, obviously noting the activity outside our restaurant’s window.
What is a mixed-use development?
By definition, a mixed-use development is a real estate project that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and industrial uses. Whether it’s a single building, a complex of buildings, a district, or a township or city, the uses are physically or functionally integrated, and provide connections to both homeowners and pedestrians.
In the last few years, mixed-use developments are slowly embraced in communities outside city centers. Here are among the primary reasons why:
1. Traffic congestion
We all know how bad traffic in Metro Manila not only affects commuters but also hurt businesses as well. That is why most people now want to live near or within central business districts. The growing daytime population of economical hubs has increased commute times, especially during rush hour, that traffic has become an impossible problem to solve.
However, the rise of mixed-use developments in denser areas like Alabang are economically beneficial for everyone. Companies who wish to expand or set up shop in the Philippines now have the option to put up their offices near their employees’ homes. Employees, on the other hand, are now given the flexibility to reconsider a transfer or a job opportunity nearby.
And with the rise of job opportunities within their homes, more and more people are now seeking to improve their lifestyle by living within the area where everything they need is within reach.
In Alabang, Muntinlupa, for example, Avida Towers Altura is located within Ayala Land’s mixed-use estate, South Park District, which is also just under 10 minutes away from Alabang’s central business and commercial districts, which are homes to companies like Convergys Philippines, HSBC Data Processing Service, E Telecare, Unilever, Shell Philippines, and Verizon Wireless.
Avida Towers Altura is also a short walk away from the upcoming South Park Corporate Center, which will provide office space for the booming business process outsourcing industry in Muntinlupa, and retail areas to invoke a live-work-play environment. These include the Ayala Malls South Park, which will be opening this December.
2. Reduce automobile dependence
Sure, cars are comfortable means of going from one place to another. But so is walking too, when you’re home is just literally a walk away from everything you need.
Being automobile-dependent discourages you to be truly in tune with your environment. Driving or commuting by car limits your ability to wander and discover great things about your own neighborhood.
Moreover, walking is a great form of exercise. It’s free too, and reduces the hassle of looking for an expensive parking space for your car when you need to go out for short errands.
3. Demand for more open, public spaces
The best thing about mixed-use developments is that there is a dedicated portion for open spaces. Real estate developers now add lush parks, landscaped gardens and water fixtures, and even function areas for people of all walks of life to explore, enjoy, and relax. The South Park District, for instance, features one of the biggest park spaces in Muntinlupa.
Moreover, having open spaces in your neighborhood encourages you to be more positive and active. A research study found out that open spaces encourage more pedestrians to walk or do physical activities, like street running, yoga, badminton, football, and even dancing.
4. Sense of place and community
The synergy of open spaces and real estate projects in a mixed-use development allows people, both residents and pedestrians, to have a real sense of belonging and community. Mixed-use developments are well-planned in a way for people to connect with each other in living spaces that encourage such bonds.
“Pero naiingayan nga ba sila?” my father repeats his question after I explained the benefits of living in a mixed-use development.
I told my father that like a well-designed property, the units are designed to at least mute out city noise. On the other hand, I also thought that regardless, anyone who lives in the city has already taken a liking to the urban noise, as if it assures them that they are truly “at home.”
Know more about the benefits of living in a mixed-use development here.