URA wins international award for transformation of Southern Ridges

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has won a prestigious international award for the transformation of the Southern Ridges.

It was conferred the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Awards for Excellence 2010: Asia Pacific.

The Southern Ridges is a nine-kilometre chain of green and open spaces spanning Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and West Coast Park.

The areas are connected by bridges and walkways including Henderson Waves, Singapore’s highest walkway.

The seamless connectivity of all the hill parks transforms the Southern Ridges into a soothing sanctuary of greenery.

The connections comprise the two pedestrian bridges and an elevated walkway – the Henderson Waves, which is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, Alexandra Arch and the Forest Walk.

Areas within the Southern Ridges that were previously not accessible are now open to the public as a result of these linkages.

The Southern Ridges was opened in May 2008 and has since attracted an additional million visitors over and above the usual number of visitors to the hill parks.

The URA mooted the idea after noting that the hill top parks, which are rich in flora and fauna, were not easily accessible as they were separated by major roads and dense vegetation.

Established in 1979, the ULI Awards for Excellence are acknowledged as one of the most prestigious recognition programme for best practices in land use.

The jury for the ULI awards, comprising renowned real estate professionals, planners and architects, was impressed with the concept of the Southern Ridges.

It cited that “the innovative concept, visited by more than a million people since its opening, creates a rare contiguous recreational space in the densely populated city state and has moved the concept of green links and neighbourhood parks to a new level”.

The chief executive officer of URA, Cheong Koon Hean, said: “This area was already a nature’s gem with lush vegetation. We were very mindful to maintain the intrinsic character of the area as a secondary forest, to enable visitors to escape into the serenity of the hills and enjoy a seamless lush green experience as they walk through the Southern Ridges. Today, it has become a popular venue even for wedding photos and fashion shoots!

“We are overwhelmed by the tremendous popularity of the Southern Ridges, and very pleased that it is so well received by all members of the community.”

This is the third time URA has received an award from the ULI, an international non-profit research and education organisation.

Singapore’s conservation programme was conferred the ULI Awards for Excellence 2006: Asia Pacific and subsequently the ULI Global Awards for Excellence 2006.

URA’s masterplanning efforts for the Bras Basah/Bugis district was also conferred the ULI Awards for Excellence 2008: Asia Pacific.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 24 Jun 2010

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