My S’pore: A greener & more pleasant land

In Environment on 19/06/2012 at 6:01 am

Swiss Gardens in the Sky

A few weeks ago, a Swiss architect suggested in a newspaper article that S’pore creates gardens in the sky using our high-rise buildings. I tot, “What a lovely idea” and had visions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon with flowering creepers on the sides of high-rises, and fountains, formal gardens and ponds on the roofs. Yup, very decadent fascist visions of greenery.

Well the reality in Switzerland is more prosaic and just as wonderful : Living roofs recapture what is now essentially negative space within the city and turn it into a chain of rooftop islands that connect with the countryside at large.

This being S’pore, we could use HDB roof-tops to be self-sufficient in basic veggies, and range-free eggs.

And lest we forget, LKY was all for green and pleasant spaces before they became fashionable among the local chattering classes

If he were running S’pore, I’m sure he would crack the whip, and spur the serfs  to convert existing roof-tops into oases or, if you prefer, islands, of greenery especially as it would make S’pore cooler. He loves cooler temperatures. I’m with him on greenery and cooler temperatures.

Why keep the ex-railway corridor green

It can together with the Swiss-style gardens in the sky be our”unofficial countryside”.

Richard Mabey has memorably called the “unofficial countryside” – Britain’s roadside verges and railway cuttings, canal towpaths and brownfield sites. This also includes the million or so acres of private gardens … and bigger than all the nature reserves in Britain put together.

These places – many of them in the heart of our towns and cities – provide a vital oasis for Britain’s wild creatures, a haven as important as anywhere in the British Isles for supporting a diverse range of plants and animals. Perhaps because of the wide range of wildlife found in our urban areas, and the frequency with which we encounter these city creatures, urban Britons are just as connected to nature as – arguably sometimes more so than – their rural neighbours. The countryside and those who live there no longer have a monopoly on nature.

While we won’t have tigers, tapir and deer; and don’t want wild boars; we could have civet cats, mouse deer and “padi” mice in the corridor.

  1. A few blocks away from where I live, there is a garden patch which is ring fenced and locked up. The key is with some chiak liow mi RC. When it was first created, it was quite well tended. It only took a few months for it to be overgrown with weeds and grasses. The town council, which paid for the initial establishment of the veggie garden patch, had to clear it of the overgrown grasses and weeds. That was about a year ago. Today it’s a big eyesore again.

    Rooftop gardens or lower conservancy charges by town council? My choice is unequivocal.

  2. the greenery is arguably the best thing kuan yew has given us. its going tho. shady trees
    along the sidewalks are being replaced by palm trees, which offer no cover from the sun.

    swathes of greenery, like bukit brown, have Development stamped on them. a small pretty
    plot in shenton way, barely able to hold two rocks, some plants and a couple of benches,
    had a sign offering it for tender for a hi-rise office.

    gardens are disappearing. pple are building houses wall to wall on pieces of land. with the
    space betw wall and fence generally kept at the minimum measure, even the air is having to squeeze betw homes rather than flow around these.

    so if u’r hoping for cool, forget it, unless your ungreen aircon is on. in fact, the latest house designs feature floor to ceiling glass panels or concrete slabs. both require interiors have air-conditioing. those pretty air vents set in room and porch walls are a rare sight today.

    as for the wildlife, instead of celebrating that we have some in this city, we talk of Killing it. not even moving it to an island! we move in on the boars, cut back on their living space and then want to turf the poor things out of the much reduced area. its rather like the way foreigners have been elbowing sporeans from this country and hdb flats have been shrinking.

    the other night, i saw a 5ft long iguana lying ripped open on marine parade rd. it had been trying to cross when it was hit by a speeding car. so much for consideration and giving way.

    as for civets, they too will soon disappear, as today’s house owners want fancy plants rather than the fruit trees that were staples in gardens. civets eat fruit. so dream on abt lushness and coolness.

    btw, civets are not cats.

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