Dense, small city can be clean and green

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, at the Rio+20 summit that just recently ended in Rio de Janeiro, said the key to achieve a city that can be concurrently dense and green is to build upwards and to leave space for trees. The Singapore government has made long-term plans to make Singapore high-rise, urbanised and compact, adding, “although five million people live within an island 30km across, 47% of our land is covered by trees” (Chan, 2012).

I am pretty sure our reputation, as a garden city has had to come from something and somewhere, no? Just look at the roads leaving Changi Airport: it is lined with trees, plants, flowers, anything green, to welcome Singaporeans and tourists.

In addition to the fact that Singapore is a pretty green city, Dr Balakrishnan also added that the lack of resources forced Singapore to be innovative in its water purification processes and recycling efforts.

Well, this is something us Singaporeans should be proud of. In all honesty, for a globalised city, home to commercialised buildings, Singaporeans really should be grateful for the clean air we all sometimes take for granted. This is of course not taking into consideration the seasonal haze periods that can sometimes be a nuisance on the roads. Be glad that we do not live in a densely populated city that is so polluted, like Hong Kong for example.

It is also apt that Gardens by the Bay at Marina Bay will officially be open to the public on Friday, 29 June. This project is in line with Singapore’s “City in a Garden” vision. This 101 hectare garden houses over 250 000 rare plants.

So sometimes it really is nice to just kick back and appreciate the air here in Singapore.


Chan, R. (2012, June 24). Dense cities can be green, says Minister. The Sunday Times, p. 1.

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