An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century
Singapore’s population has nearly doubled in the last 25 years, and what is impressive is that it is green cover – planted areas increased noticeably as seen on satellite photos. Although it is admirable, Singapore plan is to expand it’s green cover in efforts to increase sustainability throughout its projects, “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”
Singapore is changing most practices conducted in many countries by adapting and developing programs that lead to increased efficiency and productivity based on sustainability.
This way, the country would be more appealing to knowledge workers within several fields, because it has an excellent balance where anyone can work, play, live, and raise a family.
“As we’ve moved into the more knowledge-based industries, they bring along talent who like to live in a great city,” said Mr. Poon. “It’s no longer about being well tended, but also about the liveability, the excitement of living in a great city — and biodiversity is part of it.”
Singapore ranked 28th in the Mercer 2010 Quality of Living survey of the world’s most liveable cities, and in 22nd place as an Eco-City. It tied with San Francisco in 51st position in The Economist’s index of the World’s Most Liveable Cities, making it the fourth-best city to live in Asia after Osaka, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
It has been known as a green city since the 1960’s, and it continued growing and developing many aspects of life based on sustainable ideas, however, the foucus was on plants mostly. Recently, biodiversity has been added to the agenda.
“To be frank, we did not have a very conscious idea to conserve biodiversity right from the beginning. That was not the blueprint,” Mr. Poon said. “For a very long time, we focused only on plants and it has worked very well for us, but now we feel that to engage people and get them excited, especially the young, we need to include a wildlife component and moving forward we want to do more.”
To read more, please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/business/global/an-urban-jungle-for-the-21st-century.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=biodiversity&st=cse