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Reasons to Go Higher

  Published: 06 April 2018
  Theme: Smart Planning
LUSH 3.0 gives an added lift to skyrise greenery

Vertical greenery is increasingly used in cities to both raise quality of life and improve urban environments and eco-systems and Singapore is one of the cities leading the way. An important aspect of encouraging more of such greenery is to ensure that policies and incentives are supportive of this, in tandem with industry needs.

URA’s latest enhancements to the Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High Rises (LUSH) Programme or LUSH 3.0 in short, deepen efforts further by supporting more sustainability-related uses on rooftops such as urban farms and communal roof gardens, encouraging more landscaping on walls and roofs of buildings and by introducing a green plot ratio for private developments to safeguard sufficient density of greenery within a site.

Tree House Condominium - Photo taken by Finbarr Fallon

An example of skyrise greenery at the Tree House. (Image: Finbarr Fallon)

Implemented in close collaboration with private sector partners, the LUSH programme was introduced in 2009 as a consolidated urban and skyrise greening scheme comprising incentives and requirements. It capitalises on development as a means to inject more greenery into the city and the premise is simple – replace the greenery which has been taken away as a building is developed or redeveloped. 2014 saw an expansion of the geographical coverage and development types in the schemes under LUSH 2.0.

To date, the programme has contributed more than 130 hectares of greenery, equivalent to about 210 football fields. The total amount of LUSH greenery island-wide has been increasing at an annual average of 15 per cent. LUSH has also contributed significantly to high density clusters like the Central Area, and other new growth nodes and regional centres. In fact, the largest amounts of greenery contribution from LUSH were in the key growth areas of Jurong East (more than 50,000 sqm) and Downtown Core in the Central Area (close to 35,000 sqm). There has also been injection of greenery in new developments rejuvenating the well-established and mature estates such as Bukit Merah, Queenstown and Bedok.

A healing landscape begins with the hospital

Although Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) was completed in 2010, it remains a good reference project that has changed the stigma of hospital environments. Jerry Ong and Kuan Chee Yung, both architects at CPG Corporation, worked on the project and understands this most intimately about KTPH being a very special kind of hospital.

The design of KTPH started with the desire by the original team from Alexandra Hospital to bring over the same culture where the staff takes ownership of the hospital’s landscaping. The hospital also had a vision of a very open hospital facility – one without definitive start and end when it adopted this site adjacent to the Yishun pond, a harsh-looking storm water pond.

“Our challenge as architects was to make this possible,” said Jerry. “We integrated it as part of the development and softened the surrounding landscape.”

“If you look closely, the “vertical greens” are mostly grown in planters. They only look “vertical” because of clever layering,” Chee Yung added. “We also employed a layered “regimented rainforest” strategy. Unlike manicured gardens that have to be regularly clipped, a “regimented rainforest” won’t look terrible even when it is a little overgrown.”

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's healing garden Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's healing garden

KTPH’s stress-free environment has brought in various communities of visitors on the daily that makes it more than a hospital. Besides the green features in public areas at KTPH, there are also other considerations for specific users or patients. The private garden outside the geriatric clinic on Level 4 is designed in a way that is safe for dementia patients to wander around without ever getting lost.

The lush greenery at KTPH is more than just beautiful greens.