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Singapore Government commits to increasing open space for expanding population
Following recent acquisitions and long-term announcements that will see Singapore lose several of its golf courses in the coming years, the Singapore Government has committed to increase the amount of land that it dedicates to parks and nature reserves from 5,700 hectares in 2010 to 7,250 hectares in 2030.
The Singapore Ministry of National Development’s Land Use Plan, released in 2013, set out plans for the island nation to be a ‘Garden City’.
Singapore, the world’s wealthiest nation by GDP per capita, has limited room to move when it comes to sustainable development, covering a land area of just 712 kilometres². However, the intensively urbanised island – whose official population has almost doubled in the past 20 years to 5.2 million – has an aim to be Asia’s most sustainable city with high standards of ‘liveability’.
Speaking at the time of the release of Ministry of National Development’s Land Use Plan in 2013, Poon Hong Yuen, Chief Executive of Singapore’s National Parks Board explained how the nation’s founders first had the vision of Garden City in the 1960s believing “it would mitigate against the harsh urban environment as Singapore developed, improve the quality of life for Singaporeans, and remind investors that Singapore was a place where things worked.”
Poon added “as Singapore’s population and economy grew, the green cover of Singapore, as measured from satellite images, actually grew significantly.
“Today, our 1.4 million roadside trees form the backbone of our Garden City while parks and gardens take their place as key community spaces.
“One of the four nature reserves in Singapore, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, is also one of two primary rainforests in the world located within city limits, the other being Rio De Janeiro.”
Poon stated that vision will help strengthen Singapore’s brand as a distinctive, liveable city, concluding “there are three key pillars of the City in a Garden vision. First is pervasive greenery. We have greenery everywhere, from the ground to the facade and rooftops of buildings. Second is infusing biodiversity into our urban landscapes. The third [pillar] is community involvement – active participation, ownership and pride among the community will sustain the City in a Garden vision.”
As well as developing the world-class Gardens by the Bay and enhancing selected regional parks, the City is also developing more green corridors or ‘park connectors’, making use of drainage and road reserves to link housing estates to parks and nature sites.
Separate to this golf courses are classified separately under community, institution and recreation facilities, with a feeling that land used for a golf only benefitting a small number of users.
Poon even highlighted that the building of new golf courses has threatened nature areas in the past, citing how with activists successfully protested against a proposed golf course at Lower Peirce Reservoir in 1992.
Now, the projected increase in Singapore’s greenery will come mainly from more parks in public housing estates, the development of the Singapore Rail Corridor and more green trails.
The Land Use Plan’s aim is for 85% of residents to live within 400 metres of a park by 2030.
Images: Plans for the new Singapore Rail Corridor (top) and an eco-garden in the Singapore suburb of Jurong West (below).
27th June 2016 - SINGAPORE’S FORMER RAIL CORRIDOR TO BECOME A LINEAR PARK
3rd December 2015 - CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND AT GARDENS BY THE BAY
15th December 2014 - SINGAPORE TO LOSE TWO GOLF COURSES IN NEXT 10 YEARS
3rd July 2014 - SINGAPORE RESIDENTS ENJOY NEW ECO-GARDEN
30th June 2012 - 10,000 PEOPLE VISIT GARDENS BY THE BAY IN FIRST 12 HOURS
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