CITYGREEN’s Latest Issue is Available: Parks – Enhancing Liveability in Cities

November 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Published bi-annually by Singapore’s Centre for Urban Greenery & Ecology, or CUGE, the beautifully designed and illustrated CITYGREEN aims to discuss and highlight issues relating to urban greening and ecology.

In CITYGREEN’s latest issue, Parks – Enhancing Liveability in Cities, articles range from feature projects, best practices on planning, lighting, design and safety to commentaries on the role and evolution of urban parks.

Contributors for the current issue include organizations like Projects for Public Spaces and renowned individuals including Peter Harnik and Martha Schwartz.  The full listing of exciting articles for Issue 3 – ISBN: 978-981-08-9764-2 is shown below with selected photos:

“Planning Green Open Spaces for South East Asian Capital Cities”- left
Strategies to green up urban open spaces in our region
Author: David E. Aldous

“Learning From The Success of The World’s Great Parks”
Key lessons from Central Park New York, Luxembourg Gardens Paris and Hong Kong Park, among others
Authors: Fred Kent, Kathy Madden and Dana Kitzes

“Encouraging Green Open Spaces: Parks in Shanghai”- left
A look at sustainability-driven parks and initiatives in Shanghai
Author: Geoff Ng

“An Excerpt: Urban Parks in the 21st Century United States”
A Peek at Harnik’s Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities
Author: Peter Harnik

“The Importance of Planning: A City in a Garden”- left
Planning, designing and programming attractive parks in land-scarce Singapore
Author: Lim You Ling

“A Place for Leisure, Culture and Entertainment: Cairns Esplanade”
The redevelopment of Cairns Esplanade into an icon of the place
Author: Stephen White

“Past, Present, Future: The Singapore Botanic Gardens”- left
The evolution and lasting relevance of our Singapore Botanic Gardens
Author: Peter How

“A Walk Through the Years in Singapore’s Parks: Interview With Kong Yit San”
Insights into the transformation of Singapore’s parks since the 1980’s
Author: Ho Rui An

“The Need to Improve Our Oversight of These Spaces: Playground Area Standards Update”- left
Why it is important and how to make public spaces safer for our children and elderly
Author: Kenneth S. Kutsa

“Encouraging Public Appreciation: Interpretation and Education in Parks”
Methods to help parks reach out to the public and students
Author: Janice C. K. Yau

“Adding Value to Parks Through Understanding User Needs”- left
Methods of evaluating and improving parks for their users
Author: Victor Tan

“Benchmarking Sustainable landscapes: Green Mark For Parks”
Using a triple-bottom line approach to assess and benchmark parks on sustainability
Authors: Neil Power and Kannagi Sekar

“Small Details, Big Results: Landscape Lighting” – left
See several considerations behind light and good lighting design
Author: Fernando Rojo

“A Focus on Planning and Design: Facilitating Safety”
Thinking about safety and risk issues in good design
Author: Michael Behm

“Community Engagement and Health Promotion in Parks and Gardens: Population Health and Nature in the Urban Environment”- left
Taking a leaf from initiatives by the South Australian government
Authors: Adam Dwyer, Graeme Hopkins and Christine Goodwin

“Ecological efforts in Karori Wildlife Santuary, Kaikatiki Project and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park”
Author: James Wang

“Revisit and Discover: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve”- left
A place to learn about Singapore’s mangrove history and Wetlands biodiversity
Authors: Sharon Chan and Edwin Lee

“A Landscape Architect’s Vision for Singapore’s City Centre: Orchard Central Park”
Imagining green possibilities for the dynamic Orchard Road shopping belt
Author: Joerg Rekittke

“The Role of the Public Realm Landscape: The Softer Side of Sustainability and the Hard Working Urban Landscape”- left
The challenge to integrate hard and soft systems to design and create meaningful public spaces
Author: Martha Schwartz

Online subscription is now available at

Last autumn, I was honored to have been asked to write an article about entitled “The International Greenroof Industry’s Online Information Portal:” for their second issue. The full-color 104-page magazine was included in all the registrants’ bags for the inaugural  International Skyrise Greenery Conference 2010.

View contents of Issue 2 here and Issue 1 here.

I have to say that CITYGREEN is a first rate, very high quality publication and worth the cost!  I can’t wait to receive my copy.

I hope you, too, enjoy this very informative, glossy publication from CUGE on parks worldwide worthy of your greenroof and greenwall library and coffee table!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Ngee Ann Polytechnic”™s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility

October 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm Project of the Week: 10/17/11
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility
323 sf.  Greenwall

Year: 2009
Owner: Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Location: Singapore
Building Type: Educational
Type: Living Wall, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 323 sq. ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

Early efforts to green up walls and flyovers vertically in Singapore began about 40 years ago with the use of creepers and ornamental plants to increase the aesthetic values. Current vertical greening planter systems implemented in Singapore were mainly from overseas which tend to be heavy, difficult to install and suited for deep rooted plants.

The Landscape Design and Horticulture programme from the School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic embarked to develop “simpler” green walls for high rise buildings where 90% of residences are dwellers. The 2-year research on sustainable plant species for the green wall involved 40 students and the outcome was a 12m x 2.5m vertical extensive green (VEG) system implemented in 2009. The VEG comprised of 120 polypropylene panels (50 x 50 x 3cm) that were pre-grown with shallow rooted vegetative cuttings and plantlets. Eleven species of grass, bromeliad, creeper and fern on shallow panels filled with cocopeat (2% osmocote) were tested for their long term growth performance.


Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Green Wall Design: Gregory Chow, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Green Wall Construction & Irrigation: Microwet Engineering Pty Ltd
Plant Sourcing, Planting & Growing Services: Landscape Design & Horticulture, Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Additional Info

Since over 90% of people in Singapore reside in high rise public housing, infrastructure needs are built on this model.  For example, public transportation is readily within sight, let alone walking distance, to the vast majority of these high density multi-family dwellings.  And greening the built environment is taken very seriously here as well – more so on horizontal spaces such as rooftops, or sky gardens as they are commonly referred to here, sky bridges and other connecting devices.

Above is a shot I took from when we visited Singapore last November (when I spoke at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference) where you can see multitudes of housing blocks, and below notice all the greenroofs already in place:

Greenwalls are becoming another very popular “skyrise greenery” element, as well, and there is a growing industry and government help to support it.  And now indoor greening is also getting attention after the success of the  Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility.

After an October 2009 student design competition where students were  “tasked to create a portable do-it-yourself vertical greenery system,”  National Parks Board  Singapore’s Centre For Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) Research collaborated with the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology and School to develop a simple, inexpensive and attractive vertical greening system for residential homes.

Borrowing some of the ideas from student  submissions,  researchers from CUGE and Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers then “put their heads together to draw out some of the good ideas behind the students’ submission and created a product that is user-friendly and practical for home owner.”  Long Seen Hui and Gregory Chow continue:

“The final invention consists of a stackable  system of modules for the support. Each unit  can work singly, or in stacks of threes or sixes. The single units and those in stacks of threes may be free- standing on the floor, while the three- or six-unit system can be mounted onto the wall. The single units can also be displayed as miniature gardens on the table.

The system is simple to assemble, easy to  maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Already  patent-registered, it is designed to fit in  most living rooms, balconies or other suitable locations in the homes. Users are able to  arrange series of flexible and modular vertical  systems to suit their imaginations when greening their walls to provide a maximum impact.

The self-regulating water requirement in each  planting module allows a steady water supply  over extended periods. With an efficient drainage system, plant stress due to lack of water or over watering is prevented, thus removing the guess work on manual watering and providing a healthy growing environment indoors.” ~  Vertical Greenery for Interior Spaces Made Easy: DIY Vertical Greenery at Home


The second task at the  Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility  was to evaluate shallow rooted plant species for its growth habit, disease susceptibility, nutrient deficiencies and its maintenance requirement.

An instructional DVD along with an instruction booklet is available for purchase at the Garden Shop of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  Contact  Gregory Chow of  Ngee Ann Polytechnic for more information here:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Universal Studios Singapore

July 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm Project of the Week: 7/4/11
Universal Studios Singapore
376,737 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2010
Owner: Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd
Location: Singapore
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 376,737  sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

Universal Studios Singapore, an integral part of Resorts World Sentosa, is a casino-resort off the south coast of Singapore occupying almost 124 acres.  Amid the make-believe world of movies, roller-coaster rides, theme dining and shopping, down-to-earth issues in the Park were not ignored.  Sustainable “green” features including solar panels and nearly 35,000 M2 of green roofs were extensively integrated into the theme park’s concept and design, showing its firm commitment to energy conservation and responsible environmental stewardship.  Resorts World Sentosa received the Singapore Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark District GoldPlus Award.

Elmich Green Roof  was used as the wide structural spans of the immense roofs and fast track construction of the Park demanded that the system selected must be light and easy to install.  Elmich Green Roof comprises a VersiDrain ® 25P water retention and drainage layer, a geotextile filter layer and EnviroMix ® GR, a primarily inorganic soil-less lightweight planting media and drought-tolerant plant species that require little maintenance. For the metal roofs, VersiCell ® structural drainage/insulation cells were used to fill the space between the metal ridges to create a level flat surface first, on which a separation sheet was installed. For the concrete roofs, waterproofing is provided by a fully adhered layer of root-resistant Evalon PVC/EVA terpolymer membrane. An irrigation system is incorporated for use during the initial plant establishment and to provide regular irrigation and fertilization on the roofs, especially essential in prolonged periods of drought.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Developer: Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd
Architect: DP Architects Pte Ltd
Landscape Consultant: ICN Design International Pte Ltd
Landscape Contract Owner: Nature Landscapes Pte Ltd
Green Roof Specialist: Elmich Pte Ltd
Designer & Manufacturer of VersiCell ®, sub-soil drainage modules: Elmich Pte Ltd
Supplier of VersiDrain ® 25P, water retention & drainage trays: Elmich Pte Ltd
Supplier of EnviroMix ® GR, soil-less lightweight planting media: Elmich Pte Ltd

Additional Info

The reported $4.32 billion Resorts World Sentosa offers something for everyone, from business travelers to families in search of the ultimate holiday, and certainly to sustainable design fans looking for a greener vacation!

This unique travel destination is home to six hotels, spa villas, the world’s largest oceanarium – Marine Life Park – Asia’s largest column-free ballroom (which seats 7,300 guests), and the first and only Southeast Asian Universal Studios theme park with its multiple lush yet equatorial hardy  greenroofs.

In early 2010 Resorts World Sentosa had a soft-opening, with four hotels and the Universal Studios Singapore, among other features.

The region’s only world-class movie theme park just celebrated its official grand opening on May 28, 2011, and its red carpet event was attended by famous Hollywood and Asian celebrities including Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Vicki Zhao and Paula Abdul.

Unseen by the celebrities and most visitors to the park, except for roller-coaster riders, a real green carpet is rolled out everyday on the rooftops of the park.   Amid the glitz and glamour, approximately 377,000 sf of lush vegetated roofs provide beyond just a touch of green to the resort – they offer a cooler environment both inside and outside the buildings.

“The resort integrates three key elements – water, greenery and built form with careful detailing in the articulation of the facades, the use of a palette of natural materials and colours, extensive planting and the consistent treatment of sun shading devices such as overhanging pitched roofs, covered walkways, awnings, trellises and latticework to fuse the resort with the tropical climate context. ” ~  Roof & Façade Asia

The Elmich Green Roof system provides a barrier against tropical temperatures.  The top photo below shows the installation of the  VersiCell ® structural drainage/insulation cells which will  fill the spaces between the roof’s metal ridges to create the flat planting level, and the bottom shows theVersiDrain ® 25P water retention and drainage layer:

Aside from eco-friendly design, other corporate sustainability efforts have included participating in Earth Hour 2011 – according to the  Resorts World Sentosa  blog,  at the stroke of 8.30 pm on March 26, “the resort dipped into limited electricity mode – with landscape, canopy and non-essential lightings as well as water fountains in areas all across the resort turned off.”

Just a couple of other sustainable initiatives include:

* Lowering energy consumption from air-conditioning across the resort through the use of extensive canopies to reduce ambient temperature and energy-friendly eco-coolers:
* Trees that were preserved during construction of the resort (122 of them!) have either been replanted or recycled into benches at the Festive Walk.

Find out more on Resorts World’s corporate social responsibility efforts here.  I wish we could have seen some of these spectacular Universal Studios Singapore greenroofs  when we visited the lovely island nation of Singapore last November!  Singapore has some incredible greenroofs, for sure, and it’s hard to beat the sheer quantity found here within the  Universal Studios Singapore:

And finally, for the kid in all of us, watch this spectacular action packed video on YouTube introducing Resorts World Sentosa by clicking below:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

Enter the International Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011 by July 25!

July 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

If you are an architect who is a member of Arcasia Institutes or the International Union of Architects, then you need to consider submitting a project to the prestigious Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011 which recognizes greening efforts in high rise developments in Singapore and internationally:

“Skyrise Greenery is a concept that integrates green elements into the built environment. As physical living conditions become increasingly stratified, we need to look to innovative Skyrise Greenery to offer a sphere of new possibilities in our physical and social environments. It represents a vision to evolve our ever-intensifying cities into urbanscapes that are dynamic in more environmental and sustainable ways.

The Skyrise Greenery Awards aim to promote and reward greening efforts in urban developments. The Awards recognise architects taking the lead role in provisioning for green elements from the initial design stages, working in conjunction with stakeholders to bring a project to fruition.” ~ International Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011

Jointly organized by Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and National Parks Board (NParks), the objectives of this Skyrise Greenery Awards are:

a)       To promote Skyrise Greenery in urban developments by recognising the architect / owner / designer / management team who pays particular attention to Skyrise Greenery.

b)       To encourage creative and original landscaping ideas in Skyrise Greenery.

c)         To encourage architecture design with innovative use of greenery and landscaping to create a positive environment to live, work and play in.

d)       To highlight the importance of team effort in the implementation, carrying through of design intentions and maintenance of landscaping works in Skyrise Greenery.

Jointly organized by Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and National Parks Board (NParks), the Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011 is now in its fourth year.  We had the pleasure of attending last year’s ceremony at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference, where I was a presenter (read all about it here).

Below are last year’s winners:

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore received the first place prize, above.

36-38 Armenian Street in Singapore took home the second place prize, above.

The third place winner was “Head for the Hill,” also known as Growing Up and 131 Queen Street in Melbourne, Australia, above.

Prizes & Awards

Winning projects will receive a National Parks Board Skyrise Greenery Award. One plaque will be presented to each of the following:

a)       Architect

b)       Owner/Developer

c)         Landscape Architect/Designer

d)       Landscape Contract Manager

Prize money shall also be awarded to the applicant of the winning entry.  Nothing to scoff at, that’s for sure:

First Prize:                         USD$8,000.00

Second Prize:               USD$5,000.00

Third Prize:                       USD$2,000.00

Important Dates

Closing Date for Registration: 25 July 2011

Closing Date for Submission: 1 August 2011

As they say, participate and be recognized in your greening efforts of high rise developments!  Click the poster below or visit Skyrise Greenery Awards 2011 to learn about submission requirements, judging criteria, and more:

Happy Skyrise Greening,

Linda V.