Creative, heritage, and business districts eyed for Cebu City’s waterfront
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu City’s waterfront development body is considering the formation of a “creative district” in the North Reclamation Area (NRA).
Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, chairman of the Waterfront Development Council, said the city government was looking forward to the transfer of the Cebu International Port outside the city so it could finally recover part of its coastline and pave the way for the emergence of a creative district.
The creative district is one of the three growth areas identified during the recently concluded Waterfront Development Summit, on how to improve the city’s waterfront.
“We will transform the port area into a place where we can welcome international tourists who cruise to Cebu. Imagine luxury ships in the Port of Cebu. Imagine the tourism that it will bring to the City of Cebu,” Garcia told the council in his privilege speech on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Garcia said creating a creative district in the NRA could create thousands of jobs for Cebuanos and boost Cebu’s economic activity.
The planned creative district, Garcia said, could house a performing arts center similar to the Sydney Opera House in Australia and facilities that could cater to Cebuano creatives, especially on animation and film post-production.
“In the creative district, we will not only see a performing art center, but we will now be seeing different buildings to house animators, creative minds, doing creative content, and gaming developers,” he said.
Waterfront Development Summit
The two-day Waterfront Development Summit held last May 11 and 12, gathered in Cebu City local and international experts in the field of urban planning.
Garcia said it culminated in a call to action and support towards the recovery of Cebu City’s existing waterfront and in its place the emergence of its three growth areas: the Heritage District, the Business District, and The Creative District.
The Heritage District
Garcia’s proposed “Cebu City Heritage District Ordinance of 2023,” which is still for deliberation in the council, is a measure to promote the creation of a heritage district in the city.
The vice mayor said this district would encompass buildings and landmarks that had significant heritage values as well as cultural landscapes and public spaces.
“Our intention is likewise to enact policies that safeguard existing cultural assets of the city and encourage a harmonious blend of old and modern elements,” he said.
Garcia said that his proposed ordinance would also intend the eventual pedestrianization of Calle Magallanes (which would link together the historic Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and Magellan’s Cross to Plaza Independencia and the Fort San Pedro, and a series of American Colonial period structures) and the historic Calle Colon, to allow unimpeded access to Plaza Hamabar, the Metropolitan Cathedral and Museum and Heritage Monument of Cebu, all the way to the Parian district and its pre-colonial structures.
The creation of a heritage district, he said, would have a tremendous impact on the old Cebu City business district.
The Business District
Garcia said the creation of a business district at the South Road Properties (SRP) would begin with the transfer of the city hall building in SRP.
This will also require additional infrastructural work such as the building of roads and bridges to link SRP to mainland Cebu City.
“We also need to address the issue of availability of housing to prevent the old problem of urban sprawl appearing near areas of commercial development. The SCUD or South Coastal Urban Development involves the establishment of transition and permanent housing to qualified beneficiaries and will be located in what is originally Cebu City’s coastal area before the South Reclamation project was implemented,” he said.
Garcia said the city is now working also on the development of a marine protected area in the coastal waters of SRP.
Garcia imagines SRP to be the next Bonifacio Global District which is why he is planning to bring the city’s zoning board to Bonifacio Global District and Filinvest Global City in Alabang next month.
“So that we can check on how they did their zoning plans as well as all of their urban planning, which includes underground cabling, wide sidewalks, wide roads, as well as setbacks. This is what we want to pattern the SRP to be in the future,” he said.
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