Channel NewsAsia: S’pore should “soften” urban landscape

On Saturday, Minister for National Development Mr Khaw Boon Wan said that while Singapore is an urban environment, we could have green spaces to soften the urban landscape, and recreate the old kampung feel.   Channel NewsAsia reports.

S’pore should “soften” urban landscape

SINGAPORE: Singapore cannot avoid urbanisation, but it can soften the urban landscape with greenery and sensitive management of the environment.

That is the view of Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan, who launched the rejuvenated Yishun Pond next to the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) in Yishun, on Saturday.

“Globalisation is fast-paced and often impersonal, but again we cannot unlock ourselves from globalisation, (so) let’s work even harder to re-create the old kampung in new HDB heartlands, to re-create kampungs in our lives,” Mr Khaw said.

Over the past year, the pond and its surroundings had been transformed into a waterfront park, making it an ideal spot for residents to exercise, as well as rest and relax.

For patients at the adjacent KTPH, it is a place they can interact and recuperate.

“The HDB has a big job in creating many more common spaces where people can interact,” Mr Khaw said.

“Instead of just rushing from your flat to your office and back to your flat, let’s particularly create common spaces like this, that in a way make people meet, walk, slow down, say ‘hello, how are you’, and care for one another.”

For someone who has been directly involved in the development of the KTPH and the surrounding areas, Mr Khaw has another challenge for the planners.

He is encouraging them to bring back the hornbills to Yishun Park.

Mr Khaw noted the hornbills were a common sight in Singapore 100 years ago but they too disappeared with urbanisation.

Mr Khaw added there are some 100 hornbills in Singapore with a small family in the Istana grounds.

He said he hopes to see more of these magnificent birds in Singapore’s urban environment.

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