Chairman's Message
"This positive value that our Nature spaces afforded to our people is one of two branches in the silver lining that NParks officers and volunteers found amidst the pandemic. The other is learning that large numbers of Singaporeans discovered or re-discovered a love for Nature during this time of adversity."
Chairman's Message
Chairman's Quote
"This positive value that our Nature spaces afforded to our people is one of two branches in the silver lining that NParks officers and volunteers found amidst the pandemic. The other is learning that large numbers of Singaporeans discovered or re-discovered a love for Nature during this time of adversity."

Chairman's Message


On 20 October 1995, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew launched the opening of the National Orchid Garden. In his speech, Mr Lee, our founding Prime Minister, recalled:

“Even in the sixties, when the Government had to grapple with grave problems of unemployment, lack of housing, health and education, I pushed for the planting of trees and shrubs. I have always believed that a blighted urban jungle of concrete destroys the human spirit. We need the greenery of nature to lift up our spirits. So in 1967, I launched the Garden City program to green up the whole island and make it into a garden.”

Evidence-based research has found that urban nature contributes positively to the health and well-being of residents. These studies indicate that one’s mental health can improve even if one just sits and admires the surrounding Nature landscape.

In my mind, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s faith and the 'investment' in Nature to transform Singapore through his Garden City programme is affirmed and 'repaid' palpably in the experience of many Singaporeans clearly in the last two years. Facing daily the silent strain and stress of a severe global pandemic, many Singaporeans took to visiting our outdoor green spaces to exercise, de-stress and find relief and comfort in Nature.

A friend of mine – a retired civil servant – walked each day for hours along the Rail Corridor. He told me that these long walks in Nature boosted his spirits and kept him 'sane'. I strongly believe that he is not alone in having this view or experience.

Whether it was just walking in our parks and green spaces or growing edibles with one of the 860,000 seed packets which NParks distributed as part of its Gardening with Edibles programme during this time, people found a boost to their mental wellness and psychological resilience from such simple exposure and contact with Nature.

This positive value that our Nature spaces afforded to our people is one of two branches in the silver lining that NParks officers and volunteers found amidst the pandemic. The other is learning that large numbers of Singaporeans discovered or re-discovered a love for Nature during this time of adversity. The key findings from our Park Usage Satisfaction Survey showed significant increases in park use and appreciation of them. The Singapore Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park continued to receive a steady flow of visitors, while newer parks like Lakeside Garden saw a significant increase in visitors. Overall, there was not only a significant uptick in visitorship during the last two years, but the numbers have continued to stay higher and significantly exceed prepandemic visitor levels.

The greenery and biodiversity we enjoy today is the result of sustained and dedicated effort over many decades. At the start, the aim was to just quickly green up the island to provide shade and give residents across all social classes free access to green spaces. The vision grew from a Garden City to a City in a Garden with biophilic and naturalistic designs and a strategic map of networked community parks connected to each other. Even with our already extensive connector networks and parks, we are not done yet – the bold ambition is to have a park within 10 minutes’ walk of every household by 2030.

Like all modern cities in the world, we are faced with the challenges of urbanisation to create a liveable, sustainable and climate-resilient home for our people. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 seeks to address this.

NParks’ vision of a City in Nature is a key part of this overall national Plan. We aim to incorporate not just more and more greenery into our urban fabric but to do so in a purposive manner that taps on nature-based solutions to address the challenges of climate change.

Today, over 31,000 members of the community have planted over 390,000 trees as part of the OneMillionTrees movement. The ground-led support from the Friends of the Parks community has helped promote stewardship and responsible use of our green spaces. Feedback from Singaporeans and pet owners, garnered through regular reviews and focus groups, has informed policy making on how best to raise standards for pet breeders and boarders as part of a holistic review of the pet sector.

We are confident that as Singaporeans become more informed and more engaged in the various efforts to create and shape our City in Nature, they will, in the course of it, nurture and foster a society with biophilic values, compassion and care for each other and for the environment and its denizens within, that we must learn to live with.

Mr Benny Lim
Chairman, National Parks Board