Gardens, Parks and Green Reserves

  • Peter G. RoweEmail author
  • Limin Hee
Open Access


Dating well back into the colonial period, Singapore began to make a mark in the botanical, horticultural and wildlife worlds. This came by way of both its natural circumstances, including those that survived the onslaught of plantation and other less than discriminating agricultural practices and in the form of its magnificent Botanic Gardens and other related curatorial activities. Biodiversity is also a hallmark of Singapore’s environment, although it was significantly depleted during the colonial era of land exploitation. In the shift that has occurred towards a ‘city with or in nature’, significant aspects of Singapore’s plant and wildlife attributes have been pushed further into service. This shift also appears to expert opinion to be closer to a truer natural state of existence than earlier garden-like interpretations, even though the appropriation of whole-hearted public support might be more difficult to secure. Depending upon the eye of the beholder, it certainly seems true that butterflies are more beautiful than caterpillars, but, of course, without the latter you will not have the former. More prosaically, the greening of roadway verges, public parks and so on, thrive better under mixed rather than mono-cultural species conditions. Also the scale of vegetation involved can be and often is very mature and large, more in keeping with the primeval tropical antecedent conditions and so-called ‘nature’ of Singapore. For this to be sustained successfully, risks from events like falling branches and uprooted trees must be avoided almost at all costs in Singapore’s current socio-cultural environment.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of DesignHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC)SingaporeSingapore

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