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Urban forests

Singapour

31 August 2020

Located in the South of Malaysia, island city-state of Singapour* is held up as a model of sustainable development. As a matter of fact, Singapour, nicknamed the “Garden City”, has adopted since its independence in 1965 an urbanization policy focused on green spaces. With more than 50% of its surface area covered by green spaces, Singapour is now wieved as the world’s greenest city.

 

From 1963, Prime minister of Singapour launched a tree-planting campaign (10.000 trees per year). A few years later, in 1971, the first “Tree planting Day” was set up in Singapour to make the public aware of the importance of turning green the city and to encourage everyone’s participation.

 

Thereafter, and despite the doubling of the population, the green coverage increased from 35% in 1986 to 50% in 2010**. Today, Singapour has four natural reserves covering more than 3.300 hectares and many national parks including the famous Gardens by the Bay (around 100 hectares) where Supertree Grove stands. On average, each inhabitant is within 400 meters of green spaces connected to each other by a pedestrian network.

 

Confronted with a lack of space, singaporean authorities decided to favour the green architecture with vertical gardens. Singapour has now the greatest percentage of green roofs and vegetated facades in the world. Green architecture allows to cool naturally buildings and to reduce urban heat islands.

 

However, in spite of a determined sustainable development policy, the singaporean city-state model has its limits. As a matter of fact, in 40 years, the electricity consumption has quadrupled in Singapour and, today, 3 residents in 4 have an air-conditioning unit in their homes. If all humans lived like Singaporean do, we would need at least 4 planets like ours to provide for the needs of all the people.

 

*Singapour covers an area of 626 km2 for a population 5,7 million people (2018)

**The urban tree cover of Singapour calculated by Treepedia is around 29,3%. The difference between the urban tree cover of 29,3% and the green coverage of 50% can be explained because Google Street View cameras cannot access significant portions of national parks and natural reserves: http://senseable.mit.edu/treepedia

 

 

Picture 1: Satellite image of Singapour © All Rights Reserved

Picture 2: Urban tree cover of Singapour © Treepedia

Pictures 3 to 5: Buildings in Singapour © All Rights Reserved

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