All new HDB projects to feature nature-centric designs

Residents of new public housing projects launched from July onwards will live in more nature-centric neighbourhoods, with greenery to reduce heat and noise, as well as space for community farming.

Under the Biophilic Town Framework, all new precincts will be developed with the aim of allowing residents to connect better with nature, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Wednesday (Jul 18).

“(The framework) provides a strong foundation for holistic planning and design of neighbourhood landscapes, so that our residents can enjoy a strong sense of place and well-being,” HDB CEO Cheong Koon Hean said in a speech at the International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress.

The framework, which was first developed in 2013, comprises five key elements of the neighbourhood landscape – soil, flora and fauna, outdoor comfort, water and people.

Town planners and architects will take into consideration several guiding principles when planning and designing precincts. This includes planting trees which are more effective at providing shade and absorbing heat, and constructing vegetated bioswales to treat rainwater runoff naturally.

Biodiversity surveys will also be conducted before construction to study existing natural habitats, and new habitats such as dragonfly ponds, bird sanctuaries and butterfly gardens built to attract diverse species.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who was present at the event, also stressed the importance of nature-centric design in light of rapid urbanisation worldwide. “It’s easy for cities to neglect their greenery and natural assets. We’ve seen this time and again – trees are cut down and removed, rivers are abused and covered over.

“The result is that we end up with a harsh concrete jungle, and a living environment that is stressful and alienating for all,” said Mr Wong. “So we have to change our mindsets – don’t think about urban areas as being separate from nature, but reimagine cities as being part of our natural ecosystem, and coexisting in harmony with nature.”

Punggol Northshore was the first nature-centric district when its first HDB project was launched in 2015. So far, eight Build-to-Order (BTO) projects have been launched in the precinct, comprising about 5,700 flats, which will be completed progressively from 2020.

Source: Channel NewsAsia – 18 Jul 2018

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