Urban Greenery in Asia
By Jovin Hurry
With the rising demand for innovative landscape and urban solutions, Singapore has conceptually moved from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”. Officially launching the ‘GreenUrbanScape Asia 2013’ on November 7 at the Expo Convention Centre in Singapore, Mr. Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development, expounded on the local aspiration “to bring parks and green right to the doorsteps of our homes and work… to set aside 9% of our land for nature reserves and to provide parks within 85% of our households.”
Singapore’s greening journey for its “City in a Garden” vision visibly impressed a fair number of the 650 delegates from 25 countries. The three key areas of focus for this vision is to provide pervasive greenery, to optimise the use of limited land and to enhance labour productivity. For the latter for example, NParks launched its Landscape Productivity Roadmap in 2010 to help companies cope with tightening foreign labour supply.
‘GreenUrbanScape Asia 2013’ was held alongside the ‘2nd International Skyrise Greenery Conference’. The benefits of skyrise greenery are increasingly being recognised. Apart from mitigating urban heat island effects, aiding in energy consumption and acting as insulation for noise, it also creates a conducive and aesthetically pleasing environment for people to live in. It further creates habitats to enhance biodiversity in urban areas.
The Minister of State presented awards to recipients of NParks’ Skyrise Greenery Awards 2013. NParks recognised 14 local developments for excellence in implementing sky gardens and vertical greenery. The Minister also launched a new book entitled ‘Vertical Garden City, Singapore’. The 192 page book, published by NParks and URA features 33 case studies of local skyrise greenery projects, along with motivations, policies, programmes behind the installations. It also explores how an ecological perspective can help derive more functions from skyrise greenery. The book retails at S$58 at major bookstores and the URA Centre.
A business forum provided a platform for delegates to discuss with experts on recent research and development, as well as case studies on major horticulture and landscaping projects in the region. A co-located public forum was held whereby exhibitors shared with the public the latest technology and best practices in urban greenery, and how these can be used in our daily lives.
Technical tours for on-site exposure to industry-acclaimed and award-winning projects in Singapore culminated the theme of ‘Density & Greenery: Evolving into Collaborative Cities’ of the Skyrise Conference. Guided visits brought delegates to Parkroyal on Pickering, 158 Cecil Street, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, ITE College Central, 6 Battery Road, Nanyang Polytechnic and Punggol New Town, where green roofs and green walls have been fitted seamlessly into the built environment. Singapore has the equivalent of over 84 football fields of green roofs installed in more than 500 buildings.
‘GreenUrbanScape Asia 2013’ is a trade platform and greenery exhibition in Asia for professionals in the landscape, leisure and urban greenery technology area. It was jointly organised by the National Parks Board, the Landscape Industry Association, the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects and the Singex Group. Over 130 international brands from 19 countries exhibited to showcase innovative solutions at improving productivity in planning, design and management of urban greenery.