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A Lusher and Greener Singapore (URA and NParks Introduce Schemes to Promote Skyrise Greenery)

29 Apr 2009
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1. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board (NParks) are introducing a series of initiatives to promote skyrise greenery for a lusher, greener Singapore. These initiatives support the Government blueprint for sustainable development launched on 27 April, and contribute toward the Sustainable Development Blueprint target of an additional 50 hectares of skyrise greenery by 2030.

2. The greening of Singapore will literally move to greater heights with the launch of URA's programme, LUSH. NParks is also introducing a pilot incentive scheme to encourage existing building owners to green up their rooftops.

3. Together, these initiatives encourage the greening of our urban high-rises and contribute to the vision of Singapore as a City in a Garden. They will also reinforce Singapore's image as a tropical ‘Garden City', an image which distinguishes us from many other cities. This image will be built upon and reinforced in the future. In URA's Concept Plan and Master Plan, land has been set aside for parks and nature areas. We are also extending our park connector network and aim to eventually link up the whole island in a 150 km round island route.

4. Through comprehensive planning, the greening of Singapore encompasses both the public and private realms. URA actively encourages the provision of greenery within the private realm by encouraging developers to incorporate both ground greenery and skyrise greenery in the form of sky terraces and rooftop gardens. This is increasingly important as Singapore becomes more built up with higher intensity of development. By encouraging and guiding the provision of more greenery, on the ground and vertically, we enhance our living environment through innovative use of our resources, capitalising on our unique identity and enhancing the quality of life of our people.

URA launches Programme LUSH

(Landscaping For Urban Spaces And High-Rises)

5. LUSH is a comprehensive programme that synergises significant new guidelines with existing guidelines which have been fine-tuned, to encourage extensive yet lush greenery for a conducive, aesthetically pleasing live, work and play environment.

6. LUSH will literally take greenery to new heights as the guidelines will further strengthen URA's ongoing efforts to green our city by encouraging developers to provide greenery at both the ground level and the upper levels of highrise buildings. Many people place a premium on having greenery at their doorstep. Hence, the comprehensive programme is a response to enhancing the liveability and aesthetics of our high density physical environment.

7. Mrs Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer of URA, said: "URA is committed towards planning for a sustainable quality built environment and ensuring that our city dwellers are never far away from greenery, even with urban growth and high density living. Despite Singapore being land scarce, greenery can be pervasive in our urban spaces, be it within the public or private realms."

8. The guidelines under programme LUSH will ensure that our urban environment will become even greener.

New Guidelines

a) Landscape Replacement Policy for Strategic Areas

This innovative policy ensures that even as new developments are built, the greenery and landscape areas equivalent to the area of the development site will be replaced either at the ground level, or vertically. As more land is taken up by buildings in high density areas, we want to encourage the replacement of greenery that is lost to building footprints.

Developers can choose to provide more greenery through a combination of landscape areas on the first storey and the upper levels of the development in the form of skyrise gardens and roof terraces. The new policy will be effective from 1 December 2009 and will apply to all new developments and redevelopments within the Downtown Core (including Marina Bay), Kallang Riverside and Jurong Gateway. Please refer to Annex A-1 for details.

b) Outdoor Refreshment Area on Landscaped Roof tops

URA will offer a Gross Floor Area (GFA) Incentive Scheme for existing buildings within key activity corridors in the Orchard and Downtown Core planning areas to promote rooftop greenery. The additional gross floor area, which is above the Master Plan permissible intensity (subject to a maximum of 50% of the roof area or 200 sqm, whichever is lower), can be used for outdoor refreshment areas (ORAs) on the rooftop level if owners provide rooftop landscaping for their developments.

URA's scheme will complement NParks's pilot incentive scheme to co-fund part of the installation cost for green roofs. For a start, NParks' scheme is applicable to existing developments in the Central Business District and Orchard Road areas. We hope that these incentives will encourage building owners to provide landscaping on the roof levels to beautify existing plain or even unsightly rooftop areas and soften the hard-paved rooftop. Please refer to Annex A-2 for details.

Revised Guidelines

c) Gross Floor Area Exemption for Communal Sky Terraces

URA has fine-tuned existing guidelines to encourage higher quality sky terraces to serve as green, communal spaces. The sky terrace guidelines were first introduced in 1997 as part of a series of GFA exemptions to encourage the provision of more covered public spaces for communal use and enjoyment. Many newer residential developments are now designed with sky terraces, which can double up as recreational areas for the residents.

For new proposals with sky terraces, developers will now include more details of their proposed landscaping and communal facilities at the sky terraces as part of their development plans. In granting GFA exemption, URA will take into consideration the quality of the landscaping and the design of the space. This ensures that a more attractive communal space will be provided for building occupants. Please refer to Annex A-3 for details.

d) Enhancing planting around Landscaped Decks

The landscape deck guideline was first introduced by URA in 2004 to allow car parks to be housed within a landscaped raised deck with communal facilities above instead of the increasing trend then to build multi-storey car parks. Such landscape decks provide a cheaper alternative to developers to provide car parks, compared to fully submerged basement car parks. As the guideline requires the edges of the raised car park deck to be concealed by attractive landscaping, it also helped to improve the streetscape visually with more greening.

The guidelines will be fine-tuned to ensure that greenery along the landscaped deck of buildings will be further enhanced. Specifically, each side of the landscape deck will be sensitively treated with green earth berms for the planting of trees or shrubs.

Developers are also encouraged to provide porous fencing instead of high solid boundary walls, so that the planting is visible from the surroundings and from public roads. This will lead to a more attractive exterior for the development and overall green appearance for the streetscape and the neighbourhood. Please refer to Annex A-4 for details.

Existing Guidelines

9. Details of other existing guidelines to encourage greenery within developments, such as the GFA incentive scheme for balconies and GFA exemption schemes for communal planter boxes and communal landscaped area at first storeys, can be found at www.ura.gov.sg

Benefits of LUSH

10. URA's efforts to encourage even more greenery within highrise buildings and developments has yielded visible benefits since greenery guidelines were first introduced. For example, through the effort to promote greenery in the upper levels of buildings, more than 100 developments have been approved with sky terraces. This means that more residents and tenants can socialise, interact, and make good use of the communal sky terraces in these developments.

11. Over 400 developments have also been approved with balconies, allowing their residents to enjoy the openness of such spaces in the sky, and indulge in gardening activities within the comfort of home.

12. LUSH will bring about broader and long term benefits. It will lead to an aesthetically pleasing environment that is easy on the eye for locals and visitors alike, a greener, healthier living environment and more green recreation spaces for all.

13. For owners of homes and properties, well-kept buildings and surroundings in pleasant, green neighbourhoods are also likely to see property values being maintained or improved. For developers, providing more greenery will help to improve the marketability of their developments.

14. Ultimately, the LUSH programme will reinforce Singapore's image as a City in a Garden.

15. Said Mrs Cheong: "Much has been achieved over the years to green Singapore. We are now stepping up our efforts to bring greenery provision to the next level, especially by encouraging vertical greening within our high-rises. We hope that more residents can enjoy a green and lush live and work environment."

NParks Introduces Pilot Incentive Scheme for Green Roofs

16. NParks' pilot incentive scheme for green roofs will encourage existing building owners to green up their rooftops. Cash incentives of up to half the cost of installation are planned to be given to building owners to install green roofs. A green roof is defined as a lightweight growing system which requires a proper selection of plant material for easy maintenance. The cost of installing a per square metre of green roof typically ranges from S$150 to S$180.

17. As a start, the scheme will pilot in the Downtown and Orchard Planning areas, boosting the level of skyrise greenery and enhancing the city's image in these high activity corridors. NParks will target low to mid-rise buildings that are highly visible from a vantage point; and buildings in areas with low level of street-level greenery.

18. Skyrise greening is environmentally friendly as it provides thermal insulation and cooling of buildings. With land use development getting more high-rise and denser in Singapore, skyrise greening also helps to screen and ameliorate the harshness of our urban landscapes, improving the visual quality and attractiveness of our buildings.

19. Without the need for extensive structural retrofitting, green roofs are relatively easy to install, if done in the right way and with a proper choice of plants. To help developers implement green roofs smoothly, NParks will also provide technical advice on green roof technology.

20. NParks will start giving out the cash incentives in September 2009. This pilot scheme targets to implement nine hectares of green roofs over the next three years. In the meantime, interested developers can contact Mr Ng Cheow Kheng and Ms Pauline Tan, NParks at NG_Cheow_Kheng@nparks.gov.sg and Pauline_PL_Tan@nparks.gov.sg respectively for more details.

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Information is Updated on 19/05/2013