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Updates to the Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (LUSH) Programme: LUSH 3.0

  Published: 09 November 2017
Circular No : URA/PB/2017/06-DCG


Who Should Know:
Architects, landscape architects, developers, building owners, and property managers

Effective Date:
With effect from 9 Nov 2017

  1. Planning for greenery in Singapore has always been important to provide a quality living environment, and as a strategy to strengthen our City in a Garden identity. In 2009, URA introduced the Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (LUSH) programme to encourage pervasive and accessible greenery in our high-rise urban environment. In 2014, the LUSH programme was extended to cover more geographical areas and development types under LUSH 2.0.
  1. Today, with the support of building owners and developers who similarly see the benefits of incorporating greenery into their developments, two in three new residential developments and one in two new offices, shopping centres and hotels have taken up a LUSH incentive scheme.
  1. LUSH 3.0 builds on the achievements of the earlier phases of LUSH. It seeks to further enhance the quality of greenery in developments, as well as encourage more sustainability features. The refinements are as follows:

    1. To count vertical greenery and extensive green roofs towards the Landscape Replacement Area requirements;
    2. To support rooftop urban farming through the Landscape Replacement scheme;
    3. To encourage rooftops to be used for sustainability-related features; and
    4. To set Green Plot Ratio standards for private developments to safeguard sufficient density of greenery.

    More details on the refinements are below.

A. Vertical greenery and extensive green roofs as Landscape Replacement Areas

  1. Under LUSH 3.0, vertical greenery and/or extensive green roofs1 will now qualify as Landscape Replacement Areas. This is in response to feedback from the industry that such features also contribute to quality greenery within the built environment.
  1. As a guide, vertical greenery and/or extensive green roofs can make up to 10% of the overall Landscape Replacement requirements (as a percentage of site area). They can be counted either as part of the softscape or hardscape components. Requests to use vertical greenery and/or extensive green roofs for more than 10% of the Landscape Replacement requirements can be considered based on the merits of the proposal.
  1. Such vertical greenery and/or extensive green roofs should be well-designed, lushly-landscaped and integrated with the overall form and architectural treatment of the building. In assessing such features, URA will also consider if they are well-externalised and visible to the building users and general public.

B. Landscape Replacement scheme to support rooftop urban farms

  1. Under LUSH 3.0, rooftop urban farms2 can now be counted as part of the Landscape Replacement Areas, under the hardscape component allowed for developments in Strategic Areas3. This is to facilitate the use of urban farms to optimise under-utilised rooftops, as they have the potential to be a space-efficient way to augment Singapore’s food supply.
  1. Rooftop urban farms can make up to 10% of the Landscape Replacement hardscape requirements in Strategic Areas4. URA will exercise flexibility on the 10% guideline for proposals with merits.
  1. For crop protection, covers over such rooftop urban farms can be allowed. The covered urban farm area will be allowed on Temporary Permission and counted as Gross Floor Area (GFA)5.
  1. Prevailing building height controls will continue to apply to any structures and equipment proposed at the roofs. In addition, proposals within areas subject to Urban Design guidelines or Conservation requirements will be evaluated according to prevailing controls.

C. Encourage rooftops to be used for sustainability-related features

  1. In 2004, URA introduced guidelines where covered mechanical and electrical (M&E) equipment that is transferred from the roof to one of the top three floors directly below the roof could be exempted from GFA computation, if the rooftop is used for activity-generating uses6.
  1. LUSH 3.0 will extend this scheme to allow more uses on rooftops, like urban farming, communal roof gardens, greenery and solar panels, to qualify for the M&E GFA incentive. Such developments will be allowed to transfer their rooftop M&E services from the roof to one of the top three floors directly below the roof, and the covered M&E areas can be exempted from GFA up to one floor.
  1. To qualify for the GFA exemption, the urban farm area, communal roof gardens, greenery and solar panels should take up a meaningful part of the roof. M&E services and circulation spaces that need to remain on the rooftop, such as lift motor rooms or staircase cores, should be clustered and neatly integrated with roof design so that more of the roof can be used for other purposes. The roofs occupied by urban farms, solar panels, extensive green roofs and communal roof gardens that remain uncovered will not constitute GFA7.
  1. The guidelines will apply to all new commercial and hotel developments, and redevelopment or major Additions and Alterations proposals for the same8. The incentive may be applied for other types of developments on a case-by-case basis.
  1. Applicants should consider the site context in deciding the most appropriate use for the rooftop. URA will also take into consideration whether the use will pose disamenity concerns to neighbouring developments (e.g. noise, glare) in the assessment of the proposal. The guidelines will apply on a per roof basis. Prevailing building height, setback and urban design controls will continue to apply.
  1. Roof plans submitted should clearly show and annotate the proposed uses, layout and the area occupied. Landscape plans will also be required for communal rooftop gardens and extensive green roofs. Designers, developers and building owners are strongly encouraged to give due consideration to technical, structural and maintenance requirements for the proposed rooftop uses and the relocation of M&E equipment.

D. Green Plot Ratio standards for private developments

  1. Under LUSH 3.0, Green Plot Ratio (GnPR) standards will be introduced for developments providing Landscape Replacement Areas. GnPR is a measure of the density of greenery within a site9, and the new GnPR standards seek to introduce a transparent and objective standard for landscaping provided within Landscape Replacement Areas.
  1. The formula for computing GnPR is:

    The GnPR standards are calibrated according to the Landscape Replacement softscape requirements. Submissions providing greenery as replacement landscape areas need to meet the GnPR standards shown in Table 1 below.

    Table 1: Landscape Replacement (softscape) and Green Plot Ratio requirements

    Developments Minimum softscape requirement
    (as % of site area)
    Minimum GnPR requirement under LUSH 3.0
    Developments in Strategic Areas 40% 4.0
    Developments outside identified Strategic Areas
    (GPR ≥ 2.8)
    40% 4.0
    Developments outside identified Strategic Areas
    (1.4 < GPR < 2.8)
    35% 3.5
    Developments outside identified Strategic Areas
    (GPR ≤ 1.4)
    30% 3.0


  1. The new guidelines above, together with the existing LUSH 2.0 initiatives, will form the new LUSH 3.0 programme. Appendices 1 and 2 consolidate the updated Landscape Replacement Area Guidelines within Strategic Areas and outside Strategic Areas respectively.
  1. We encourage designers, developers and building owners to incorporate the landscape design upfront and to give due consideration to the structural, spatial and functional requirements for permanent planting in the design of these spaces.
  1. This circular should be read in conjunction with the earlier circulars on Landscape Replacement Area guidelines dated 12 Jun 2014 (URA/PB/2014/12-CUDG and URA/PB/2014/13-DCG).
  1. Except for the requirements on GnPR, which will take effect from 9 Feb 2018 onwards, all the other revisions will take immediate effect.
  1. The GnPR standards will apply to all new applications submitted on or after 9 Feb 201810. Only formal development applications (excluding Outline Applications) submitted before 9 Feb 2018 which have already been granted Provisional Permission or which will result in a Provisional Permission, will not be subject to the GnPR standards.
  1. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to your members. We have updated the same in the Development Control Handbooks. You are advised to refer to these Handbooks for the updated guidelines instead of referring to past circulars. For other information on the master plan, urban design guidelines, private property use and approval, car park locations and availability, private residential property transactions, and conservation areas and buildings, use URA SPACE (Service Portal and Community e-Services). For feedback or enquiries, please email us.
  1. We thank you for your continued support in creating a green, liveable and sustainable Singapore.
Thank You.


1 Extensive green roofs are generally not designed for accessibility and active recreational use. Such roofs are mainly for ecological and aesthetic benefits and are installed at inaccessible rooftops. They are usually lightweight systems comprising low maintenance plants.

2 Rooftop urban farms come in various forms, ranging from smaller scale community-based farming activity and edible gardens, to larger-scale, highly intensive farming activities conducted on a commercial basis.

3 Developments within the identified Strategic Areas must provide replacement landscaped areas at least equivalent in size to the development site area (for details on the Strategic Areas, see the ‘Landscape Replacement Area Policy in Strategic Areas’ section in the relevant Development Control handbooks). The replacement landscaped areas should comprise minimum 40% softscape, and up to 60% hardscape which can be communal facilities like event plazas, water features and playgrounds.

4 The 10% for rooftop urban farms is allowed in addition to the 10% allowed for vertical greenery and extensive green roofs. Uncovered rooftop communal gardens that may subsequently be converted to small scale community farms will continue to be counted as greenery replacement (softscape).

5 As a temporary use incurring additional area, covered farms will be subject to Temporary Development Levy. URA can consider the additional GFA over and above the maximum permissible GFA under the Master Plan.

6 The guidelines do not apply to commercial and hotel developments that share common boundaries with residential developments. For such developments that do not share common boundaries with residential developments but are in close proximity to them, activity generating uses at the rooftops will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

7 Covered urban farm area will be allowed on Temporary Permission and counted as GFA. Incidental covered spaces under solar panels put to landscaping will not constitute GFA.

8 Please note that the new guidelines will not be applicable to conservation buildings and areas with urban design guidelines for roof forms.

9 GnPR is used by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for their respective Landscape Excellence Assessment Framework (LEAF) and Green Mark certification schemes.

10 Development applications submitted before the effective date 9 February 2018 resulting in an Advice or Refusal of Written Permission (RWP) will be evaluated based on the revised guidelines upon resubmission after the Advice or RWP.

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