“Vertical Garden City, Singapore” by Tan Puay Yok

November 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I received my copy of Dr. Puay Yok Tan’s new book Vertical Garden City, Singapore, 2013 a couple of weeks ago, and Wow, it is awesome!

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Although clearly focused on the beautiful tropical island nation of Singapore, 192 pages of gorgeous color photos of skyrise gardens beautifully illustrate vertical and horizontal examples of greening from across the world.

“Singapore is a modern, cosmopolitan city that is claiming its place as a global city of the world. This has emerged amidst dramatic transformation of its landscapes since its founding at the start of the 19th century. This is only possible through a deliberate approach of actively reinstating greenery to replace natural spaces that have been inadvertently lost during urbanisation.

The emphasis on urban greening as a cornerstone of Singapore’s urban development approach continues today. One key strategy it has adopted is to green up its vertical spaces as the new frontier of urban greening. In little more than a decade since the idea of skyrise greening was actively promoted in the city, numerous skyrise greenery installations now dot the city’s landscapes. Several are striking architectural marvels, while others help to silently blend the buildings with its environment. How did the groundswell occur? What were the policy considerations and instruments used to promote the concept to the building industry? What more can and should be done?

Vertical garden city, Singapore describes the skyrise greening movement and efforts in Singapore, and profiles selected projects in the city that exemplify innovation, creativity and the boldness to try new ideas. This book also explores how an ecological perspective can help to derive more functions from skyrise greenery. It is a valuable resource to those who want to know more about Singapore’s efforts in greening its vertical spaces.” ~ Urban Redevelopment Authority

With forewords by one my own favorite green architects, Emilio Ambasz and Dr. Tan Wee Kiat of the amazing Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, Puay Yok acknowledges many early influences including Ian McHarg along with former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who in 1963 lead the first tree planting day in his nation and started the Garden City movement.

“Mr. Lee Kuan Yew started a rapid urban greening programme and an urban planning approach in which greenery received equal, if not more, emphasis than the expansion of buildings and infrastructure.” ~ Tan Puay Yok

Five decades later, Singapore truly is a tropical City in a Garden.

I’m pleased to say that Puay Yok asked me to contribute to his book, along with Dr. Manfred Köhler and Steven Peck.  I wrote “Worldwide Trends in Greenroof and Green Wall Implementation,” where I spoke about the Top 10 general categories of trends that we here at Greenroofs.com have been observing over the past decade or so.  Thanks, Puay Yok, for this honor!

Topics include typologies of skyrise greenery, research and development, key policies, and prospects for the future, which Puay Yok says “The Way Forward is Up.”

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A large selection of Singapore’s thriving installations and signature sky gardens can found including: The Skypark at Marina Bay Integrated Resorts, School of Art, Design and Media, Solaris, Universal Studios Singapore, Marina Barrage, T3 Changi Airport, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, School of the Arts, The Pinnacle@Duxton, Reflections at Keppel Bay, Sky Gardens House, Gardens by the Bay, and many more. (Not surprisingly, over the years we have highlighted all of these in Haven Kiers and my Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design!)

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Available for purchase, you can either pick one up at the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Singapore, or through the mail – find out more here.

Thoughtfully presented and flawlessly published, Vertical Garden City, Singapore is not only a stunning coffee table book, its presentation of Singapore’s legacy of building green infrastructure and urban biodiversity conservation makes it an essential addition to your living architecture library!  Wouldn’t it be great if all governments could follow suit?

~ Linda V.