One of the stated goals in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint is the creation of 200 hectares of rooftop greenery by 2030. Due to limited land space, sky rise greenery has increasingly become an essential component of sustainable urban development. It was recently announced that the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s ‘Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (LUSH)’ program – which encourages developers to green their buildings at the ground and upper levels with sky terraces and roof gardens – will be expanded to include urban gardens and communal rooftop gardens on buildings, and increase landscaping on walls and roofs.
It has been noted that not only will this tie-in with the interest in urban farming and gardening, but will also increase the attractiveness of buildings.
“Most people are drawn to greenery and nature,” said Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, managing director of GuocoLand in Singapore. “By providing more of these landscape areas, we’re bringing nature closer to people living in a very urbanized city. It’s a point of distinction for Singapore. We already have strong greenery on the ground level but if we can take it to different levels like sky parks, it can be a very attractive differentiation.”
As using rooftop areas for greenery may require developers to relocate mechanical and electrical equipment, the URA would grant gross floor area exemptions which could represent significant cost savings for developers and building owners. The URA is also requiring a Green Plot Ratio (GPR) framework for developers which stipulates that denser greenery is required of buildings that see more intense use. The new framework takes into account both vertical and horizontal greenery.
URA’s chief executive officer Lim Eng Hwee stated: “Development as part of city growth is inevitable. However, buildings need not remain as concrete blocks. Greenery can be purposefully integrated into our built environment and become an exciting part of our urban experience.”