Ask any Singapore visitor and many will find the boulevard bridging the airport and the town imposing. Thanks to the discerning urban planners from N Parks, the official sector that deals with gardening and biodiversity, and meticulous gardeners, the lines of trees not only strike for their neatness, but also their varieties, which probably made the airport-to-town trip a brief overview of Singapore’s biodiversity. Locals are not surprised to hear such compliments, yet they will add that it’s more to do with politics and economy than to environment.
A meeting with a leading figure at N Parks, I was told that building a green environment has brought to Singapore immense economic and political benefits; for it hints at how the government manages to keep the city-state shipshape. This message targets both potential foreign investors and citizens – and my marvelling at the greenery has proven its success.
The officer showed me a newspaper clip about a multi-national corporation, whose name I fail to trace back now, picking Singapore to build their Asian headquarters, defeating Hong Kong and other leading Chinese cities, for the lushy greeny environment it has to offer. As the reporter wrote, the corp reckoned green environment not only does good to health, it also inspires; which gave their decision a good cause.
Ironically, many rising Asian cities lack the foresight Singapore has, focusing too much on industrial development without realising the benefits of green investment. Faced by the critical threats of climate change, the case of Singapore may strike as a pull factor to encourage heads of states to give plants some space in their ambitious plans.