SINGAPORE - Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said on Thursday that the Ministry would be exploring the possibility of introducing a minimum requirement, as a way to ensure "pervasive" greenery continues to exist in Singapore.
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Here is the full speech by MOS Desmond Lee at the Opening Ceremony of GreenUrbanScape Asia today:
A very good morning to all of you.
I am delighted to be here with all of you this morning for the opening of the inaugural GreenUrbanScape Asia, which also incorporates the 2nd International Skyrise Greenery Conference. The organisers have told me that we have more than 4,000 participants, speakers and delegates from 25 countries here in Singapore over the next 3 days to share innovations and solutions on landscape and urban greenery. To all our international friends here with us this morning, let me extend to you a very warm welcome to Singapore - our "City in a Garden".
From "Garden City" to "City in a Garden"
Some of you may be more familiar with Singapore being popularly known as a "Garden City". From the early days of our independence, we set out to build a world class living environment through greenery. It was not an easy process. We aimed to be a "Garden City" which is clean and green - a city of parks, gardens, reservoirs and clean rivers. We have invested time, resources, and energy to create the beautiful garden city that we enjoy today.
For our international friends and for those of us living in the central and western part of Singapore heading to the conference this morning, you may have noticed the rows of mature rain trees lining the East Coast Parkway where the tree crowns have arched over the expressway and interlocked to form a green tunnel for much of the way. This expressway has now become an icon familiar to many Singaporeans coming home, and also to welcome our visitors as they travel towards our city.
This is an example of our deliberate attempts to green our streetscape and provide green spaces, as we urbanise and make our city more liveable. This is not just something that you see along the ECP, but in many parts of Singapore. In Jurong West, for instance, where I serve the community, there is a street in the heartlands, in street 52, which is equally interlocked with rain trees and beautiful site that that we all appreciate - the shade, the sense of calm, the oasis amidst the dense and stressful urban environment that we encounter day to day in the city.
Going forward, we are transforming Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden". Some of us here may think that this is a mere play on words. Not quite. It is in fact a significant shift in approach. Our "City in a Garden" vision is about turning Singapore from a city that is green into a metropolis that is nestled in a garden of tropical greenery. It is about connecting vibrant ecosystems, places and most importantly, communities of people, through a seamless network of parks, gardens, park connectors, streetscape and skyrise greenery.
In short, as a "City in a Garden", we aspire to bring parks and green spaces right to the doorsteps of our homes and work places. Even in land-scarce Singapore, we are committed to set aside 9 per cent of our land for nature reserves and parks, and to provide parks within 400 metres of 85 per cent of our households.