Media 2013

Media Articles  - 2013

Skyrise Greenery in Singapore

Date: 2 November 2013

Source: National Parks Board Media Release


The benefits of skyrise greenery are widely recognised. Apart from mitigating urban heat island effects, aiding in energy consumption, and acting as insulation for noise, skyrise greenery also creates a conducive and aesthetically pleasing environment for people to live, work and play in, and creates habitats to enhance biodiversity in urban areas.

In Singapore, over 60 ha (equivalent to 84 football fields) of green roofs have been installed in more than 500 buildings. This has surpassed Chicago, the North American leader in green roofs, which has 51 ha of vegetated roofs[1].Some impressive skyrise greenery projects in Singapore include 158 Cecil Street (office building), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Ocean Financial Centre (office building), Orchard Central (shopping mall), and the recently completed PARKROYAL on Pickering (hotel). In particular, Ocean Financial Centre in the Central Business District has the world’s largest vertical garden, at 2,125 sqm.

Industry leaders in Singapore such as Elmich, Chop Chin Hin, Greenology and Uniseal have also birthed several rooftop and vertical greening product innovations systems that are lightweight and compact for better plant growth and easy maintenance.

Skyrise greenery initiatives in Singapore

To promote skyrise greenery in Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board (NParks) introduced the LUSH (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-rises) programme and Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme respectively.  Both initiatives are complementary and offer building owners and developers incentives such as additional gross floor area if rooftop greenery is installed, as well as co-funding for rooftop and vertical greenery installation. To date, a total of 110 projects have benefited from the Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme, contributing to 3.5 ha of green roofs and green walls.

Skyrise greenery excellence is recognised and celebrated by the Skyrise Greenery Awards, while knowledge-sharing and expert interaction is further facilitated in the International Skyrise Greenery Conference (ISGC).  This year, the ISGC is held from 7 to 9 November 2013 along with GreenUrbanScape Asia 2013.

Since 2006, the Housing Development Board (HDB) has been implementing rooftop gardens on their multi-storey car parks, especially in new public housing estates. HDB also rolled out a Greenprint framework to create sustainable homes and include more green spaces, such as rooftop gardens and green walls in their developments.

Skyrise greenery research and publications

NParks has conducted several researches on skyrise greenery in Singapore, to evaluate its benefits, selection of plants, and various rooftop and vertical greenery systems. Nine books have also been published on the guidelines for rooftop greenery excellence. The most recent of these include the Guidelines on Design and Construction of Pitched Green Roof and Guidelines on Planting of Trees, Palms and Tall Shrubs on Rooftop.

To capture the development of skyrise greenery in Singapore, URA and NParks have jointly published Vertical Garden City, Singapore. The book profiles selected skyrise projects in the city that exemplify innovation, creativity and boldness to try new ideas. The book will belaunched by Minister of State for National Development at the opening of the GreenUrbanScape Asia on 7 November 2013.

More information can be found at


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Skyrise Greenery Awards 2013

Date: 2 November 2013

Source: National Parks Board Media Release

Launched in 2008, the Skyrise Greenery Awards is the first set of awards in the region that recognises and rewards skyrise greening efforts in developments. The Awards honours the team effort of architects, building owners, designers, developers, landscape architects and landscape contractors who have creatively integrated sky gardens and vertical greenery in their projects.

Past award-winning projects include Newton Suites (2008), Orchard Central (2009), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (2010) and 158 Cecil Street (2011). These developments include commercial, residential, educational and healthcare institutions.

The Skyrise Greenery Awards was previously jointly organised by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Singapore Institute of Architects.  This year, NParks is taking the lead in organising the Awards and collaborating with more partners, including the Building and Construction Authority, Landscape Industry Association (Singapore), Singapore Green Building Council, Singapore Institute of Architects, Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

As a result of a large number of outstanding entries for the Skyrise Greenery Awards 2013, the format of the Awards was revamped to recognise a wider range of projects from different sectors. The categories of the Skyrise Greenery Awards 2013 are as follows:

- Outstanding Award
- Excellence Award
- Special Award - Community Engagement
- Special Award - Design for Maintenance
- Special Award - DIY Project
- Special Award - Extensive Green Roof
- Special Award - Innovation
- Special Award - Skyrise Greenery in a Garden

The Skyrise Greenery Awards 2013 received 77 entries, the highest number since its inception. Besides submissions from the commercial sector, NParks also received entries from private house owners and schools. The number of entries received for past awards is as follows:
- 2008 awards - 9 entries
- 2009 awards - 14 entries
- 2010 awards - 17 entries
- 2011 awards - 27 entries

Past Award-Winning Projects

SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Awards 2008:
- Naumi Hotel (Singapore, Hotel)
- Newton Suites (Singapore, Residential development)
- One George Street (Singapore, Office building)
- VivoCity (Singapore, Shopping mall)

SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Awards 2009:
- Completed projects
o   1st prize: Orchard Central (Singapore, Shopping mall)
o   2nd prize: Central Horizon (Singapore, Residential development)

- Yet to be constructed projects (as of the awards 2009)
o   1st prize: Solaris (Singapore, Office building)

SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Awards 2010:
- Completed projects:
o   1st prize: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (Singapore, Hospital)
o   2nd prize: 36 & 38 Armenian Street (Singapore, Office/Residential development)
o   3rd prize: Head for the Hill (Melbourne, Office building)

- Yet to be constructed projects (as of the awards 2010)
o   1st prize: R4 apartments (Singapore, Residential development)

SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011:
- Completed projects:
o   1st prize: Hanging Garden in CBD - A Fusion of "Archi-Nature" at 158 Cecil Street (Singapore, Office building)
o   2nd prize: The Helios Residences (Singapore, Residential development)
o   3rd prize: myVillage (Singapore, Shopping mall)

- Honourable mention projects:
o   6 Battery Road – Vertical Garden (Singapore, Office building)
o   MapleTree Business City (Singapore, Skyrise Greenery Award 2013 - Winning Projects

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Speech by MOS Desmond Lee at the Opening Ceremony of GreenUrbanScape Asia

Date: 7 November 2013

Source: Ministry of National Development, Singapore

1. A very good morning to all of you.

2. I am delighted to be here with all of you this morning for the opening of the inaugural GreenUrbanScape Asia, which also incorporates the 2nd International Skyrise Greenery Conference. The organisers have told me that we have more than 4,000 participants, speakers and delegates from 25 countries here in Singapore over the next 3 days to share innovations and solutions on landscape and urban greenery. To all our international friends here with us this morning, let me extend to you a very warm welcome to Singapore - our “City in a Garden”.

From “Garden City” to “City in a Garden”

3. Some of you may be more familiar with Singapore being popularly known as a “Garden City”. From the early days of our independence, we set out to build a world class living environment through greenery. It was not an easy process. We aimed to be a “Garden City” which is clean and green – a city of parks, gardens, reservoirs and clean rivers. We have invested time, resources, and energy to create the beautiful garden city that we enjoy today.

4. For our international friends and for those  of us living in the central and western part of Singapore heading to the conference this morning,  you may have noticed the rows of mature rain trees lining the East Coast Parkway where the tree crowns have arched over the expressway and interlocked to form a green tunnel for much of the way. This expressway has now become an icon familiar to many Singaporeans coming home, and also to welcome our visitors as they travel towards our city. This is an example of our deliberate attempts to green our streetscape and provide green spaces, as we urbanise and make our city more liveable. This is not just something that you see along the ECP, but in many parts of Singapore. In Jurong West, for instance, where I serve the community, there is a street in the heartlands, in street 52, which is equally interlocked with rain trees and beautiful site that that we all appreciate – the shade, the sense of calm, the oasis amidst the dense and stressful urban environment that we encounter day to day in the city.

5. Going forward, we are transforming Singapore from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”. Some of us here may think that this is a mere play on words. Not quite. It is in fact a significant shift in approach. Our “City in a Garden” vision is about turning Singapore from a city that is green into a metropolis that is nestled in a garden of tropical greenery. It is about connecting vibrant ecosystems, places and most importantly, communities of people, through a seamless network of parks, gardens, park connectors, streetscape and skyrise greenery. 

6. In short, as a “City in a Garden”, we aspire to bring parks and green spaces right to the doorsteps of our homes and work places. Even in land-scarce Singapore, we are committed to set aside 9% of our land for nature reserves and parks, and to provide parks within 400 metres of 85% of our households.

Demand for innovative landscape and urban design solutions

7. Like Singapore, many cities also view greenery as an integral part of a high quality living environment. However, this is not without significant challenges. The United Nations forecasts that today's urban population of about 3.6 billion will rise to nearly 6.3 billion by 2050. Asia, in particular, is projected to see its urban population increase by 1.4 billion, accounting for about half of the global urban population growth[1]. Population growth and urbanisation will make it more challenging for all of us to maintain our greenery, let alone to increase it. 

8. It is therefore important for planners and governments to continue to set aside space, and to create new spaces for parks and greeneries even as cities ramp up their infrastructural developments. With the on-going global conversations on improving liveability and sustainability, green spaces have become more important in ensuring quality living for city dwellers.

9. In this regard, cities have much to learn from each other. Platforms such as the GreenUrbanScape Asia can facilitate meaningful conversations and exchanges between the different stakeholders - from developers, architects, engineers, and builders, as well as between the public, private and the people sectors on how best to enhance our greenery and innovate urban greenery solutions.

Singapore’s greening journey

10. For Singaporeans, greenery is increasingly viewed as part of our national heritage and identity, and as an important way of mitigating the stress of urban living. In a park usage and satisfaction survey conducted by the National Parks Board (NParks) in 2012, out of 2400 respondents, 80% felt that living in a garden city improved the quality of their lives and that Singaporeans needed parks and green spaces to relax in after a day’s work.  

11. To achieve the “City in a Garden” vision, we must not only increase the quantity of greenery, but also the quality of our greenery. Let me briefly share 3 key areas of focus in this journey.

Providing pervasive greenery

12. First, we aim to continue to provide pervasive greenery all over our small island of 710 km2. Where new developments displace existing greenery, these developments should fully or partially replace the lost greenery by other means, such as developing skyrise greenery, vertical greenery, rooftop gardens or landscaping.

13. This is not new. Already, new public housing precincts have achieved 60-70% landscape replacement rates, and new developments in our Downtown Core Area like Marina Bay have to meet a 100% landscape replacement requirement, of which some 40% must be greenery.

14. Moving forward, we will work with stakeholders to explore a minimum greenery provision for public housing and private condominiums. We will also study how we can green more public infrastructure such as sheltered walkways, bus shelters and ventilation buildings. Where possible, planners of new infrastructure should consider how to incorporate greenery in the design stage.

Optimising use of limited land

15. Second, we have to optimise the use of our limited land for greenery and related uses, especially when there will always be competing demands for the use of land.

16. Our landscape companies and nurseries do not have the luxury of large tracts of suburban land that some other cities have to run their operations. We encourage our companies here in Singapore to look at ways to maximise the productivity of the land they occupy. This can be achieved through simple space-saving and maximising techniques and technology such as multi-tier display racks and automated irrigation systems for such racks. This way, we make the most use of our limited land for our nursery operations.

17. Beyond this, all of us are familiar with the approach of going skywards to achieve more greenery. In Singapore, NParks launched the Skyrise Greenery Awards and Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme in 2008 and 2009 respectively to promote skyrise greenery in developments.

18. Today, there are more than 500 buildings with sky gardens and vertical green walls in Singapore, and over 100 developments have benefitted from the incentive scheme. In fact, Singapore has more than 60 hectares (equivalent to some 84 football fields) of green roofs, surpassing Chicago’s 51 hectares.

Enhancing labour productivity

19. Third, we must raise the capabilities of our landscape industry and its workforce in order to achieve the highest standards in both the design and maintenance of our greenery.

20. NParks had launched the Landscape Productivity Roadmap in 2010 to help landscape companies cope with tightening foreign labour supply and to professionalise the landscaping workforce. We have set aside about $12 million to co-fund the training of workers and to incentivize companies to adopt innovative landscape design, technology and operations. Over time, we aim to build up a sustainable pool of skilled local landscape workers.


21. This year, we commemorate 50 years in our efforts to green Singapore. Some of you may recall that in June 1963, our then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew planted a Mempat tree at Farrer Circus in our first ever tree planting exercise. This marked the start of our greening journey to improve our living environment and enhance the quality of life for all Singaporeans.

22. We will not let up in our greening efforts. But the Government cannot do this on its own. We will harness the passion and creativity of the community and the landscape industry to help sustain our greening efforts.

23. Over these next three days, I trust you will gain meaningful insights from your interactions with fellow participants and the other companies at this conference.   At the same time, I hope you can spend some time to walk around Singapore to enjoy the greenery around us. On this note, I wish everyone here a fruitful learning experience and an enjoyable time in Singapore.  Thank you.

[1] Source: World Urban Prospects, The 2011 Revision (United Nations, published on 5 Apr 2012)