Singapore: The City Within a Garden

When people talk about a “green” city (in the actual sense of seeing the color green) they may talk about number of trees per person or how many city blocks are dedicated towards public parks. But nowhere do we see so much greenery than Singapore. With April showers bringing May flowers let’s take a look at how one city has turned a Garden Within A City into a City Within A Garden.

If you can believe it, a whopping 50% of Singapore is covered with foliage, trees and plants. The government ensures that large parcels of land are dedicated towards protecting the enormous bio-diversity of this country; even roadways are designed with enough space for shade-providing trees. Singapore is home to over 2,900 species of plants, 360 species of birds and 270 species of butterflies. So the importance of trees and plants is not only for pleasure (or shade or fresh air) but for protecting indigenous animals and insects.

One major park currently in construction is the Gardens By The Bay project, developed by the National Parks Board. The Marina district, home to such iconic buildings as the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Esplanade (aka The Durian), is being developed as a robust live, work, play space that features the enormous diversity and heritage of native horticulture. The team responsible for bringing this grand scheme into fruition is Grant Associates , based in the United Kingdom.

The 54 hectare, £350 million development will be divided into three areas: The Lion Gardens (including the Wet Biome, Dry Biome and Supertrees), Moon Gardens (Boat House and Eco-Apartments) and the Tiger Gardens (Dragon Bridge, Tiger Sculpture and Jellyfish Refuge). All together it will create a unique and diverse landscape showcasing the rich bio-diversity of Singapore. For a fantastic preview of the plans be sure to watch this video.

One of many super-cool ideas from Grant Associates is the concept of Supertrees. The Supertrees are vertical gardens, approximately 80 to 165 feet high. The structures will look like very large trees and be responsible for collecting water, providing shade and dispersing heat within the garden. From the renderings it looks to create a vast self-sustaining jungle of color — I cannot wait to see this futuristic forest in person.

The thoughtfulness used in developing the overall Garden design has extended into the research and development of the actual horticulture represented in the Gardens. All manner of plants including native, Mediterranean, cool tropical, and higher elevation plants are currently being grown in Singapore’s Hort Park. Visitors to the park can see the plants in person and read further about the importance of this biological research and how these will eventually be moved into the Gardens.

The Gardens By The Bay is slated to open this month and once open I will be sure to give you a first hand review!

Images: Grant Associates

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