Chris Reed
Mar 22, 2013

Singapore National Parks plants its vision on the CBD Lawn

If you have been to the Singapore CBD/Raffles Place recently you could be mistake for thinking that you have gone back in time! The lush green lawn that dominates Raffles Place has been replaced with a replica of a park to celebrate National Parks 50 Years of Greening Singapore.

Singapore National Parks plants its vision on the CBD Lawn

It’s a dramatic transformation that included planting trees, plants and bushes as well creating an entire sandpit play area. There are also swings, roundabouts, sea-saws, park benches, swinging seats everything you would expect from a park in Singapore.

The installation is there to raise awareness for the 50th anniversary of when legendary Prime Minister and first Brand Director of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) planted a tree to start the greening of Singapore. He had a vision where Singapore would not only grow economically but aesthetically too.

LKY wanted a place where people could live, work and play in an attractive City in a Garden environment. This meant making hard commercial v's aesthetics decisions. Choosing gardens, trees and biodiversity over commercial gains at times for the benefit of the islanders and all those who chose to live and work in Singapore in terms of their living breathing ambience.

It is one of the few cities in the world where this happened. Hong Kong probably wished it had done it. London has two enormous parks but they were there already not down to a grand plan of greening a city. New York has the amazing Central Park but it’s amazing because the rest of the city is so built up and ungreen in comparison to it! Sydney comes close but still does not have as many plants and gardens in amongst buildings or tree lined roads alongside birds and insects in the city itself.

The most dramatic way you cane see the comparison is by visiting each of the airports and taking a taxi into the city and see what you see. In Singapore one of the most remarked first impressions is the perfect tree lined road leading from Changi Airport into the city.

None of the aforementioned CBD’s have anything like the greenery that Singapore has throughout it's city and that is a brand value that therefore that is unmatched and unrivalled amongst competitive city brands.

In the Raffles Place garden I was a bit sceptical as to whether people would sit on the kids swings and larger rocking swings but not only are both of these things happening but people are bringing picnics and enjoying them in their City in a Garden. They never did this before even though there was perfectly manicured grass there. People are bringing kids to play on the slide/swings/seasaw and roundabout which brings a freshness and vitality to the CBD and makes you smile!

The installation’s theme is  “Play sets of Yesteryear” and it will tour the island. The other venues they are choosing are actual larger parks, East Coast, Botanic Gardens, Bishan Ang-Mo Kio Park. None will be quite so dramatic in emphasising the greenery that we enjoy every day just walking around Singapore as the exhibition in the CBD. The contrast between the skyscrapers and the play sets of yesteryear/new plants/bushes/trees is ideal in capturing the imagination and fuelling interest in celebrating the 50 years of Greening Singapore.

National Parks are combining this with lots of other activities including yoga in parks, organised picnics, commemorative nets flash pay cards, planting of trees, schools activities, art events and a really cool sharing memories site irememberParks which currently has 180,000 memories. 

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