Three historical gardens will be recreated as part of efforts to restore the rich heritage of Fort Canning Park and its surroundings. The three gardens within and around Fort Canning Park make up the heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill, and include Singapore’s first botanic garden. The National Parks Board (NParks) will create these gardens as part of sensitive enhancements to Fort Canning Park to emphasise Fort Canning’s historical features. Enhancements will be accompanied by the introduction of a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, and enhanced accessibility to the park.
Fort Canning Centre will also be repurposed as a gallery for visitors to learn more about the history of the hill and its surroundings. Members of the public are invited to volunteer at park programmes and give suggestions on the upcoming enhancements.
As one of Singapore’s two National Parks, Fort Canning Park is deeply rooted in history, from the time of the 14th century kings to the founding of modern Singapore. The enhancements will highlight the significance of Fort Canning Hill and retrace the history of Singapore across the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries.
The heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill and its surroundings will be restored and weaved seamlessly into Fort Canning Park with the creation of three gardens, namely the Royal Garden, the First Botanic Garden, and Jubilee Park.
The First Botanic Garden, which was established by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 to also serve as an experimental garden, will extend from Fort Canning Park onto the streetscapes of roads bounded by Hill Street, Victoria Street, Bras Basah Road, Handy Road and Canning Rise. As part of the First Botanic Garden, a large part of Armenian Street will be pedestrianised and turned into a park featuring plants that were introduced as economic crops for the spice trade, food and horticulture. Economic crops such as nutmeg were cultivated in the First Botanic Garden before they were propagated across Singapore in the 1800s. The new park at Armenian Street is part of a multi-agency effort by URA, NParks, PUB, LTA, NHB and NAC in close collaboration with stakeholders within the vicinity to create new vibrant public spaces that visitors can enjoy. The new park at Armenian Street and wider sidewalks along Coleman Street will also enable visitors to walk comfortably from Armenian Street to Civic District, linking Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah.Bugis and the Civic District together into an expanded arts, cultural and heritage district.
NParks is also planning a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, including re-curation of existing heritage trails of the 14th and 19th centuries. These trails will be enhanced to interpret the rich history of Fort Canning Park and feature new nodes. The 14th century trail will feature the Forbidden Spring or Pancur Laranganwhich is believed to be the bathing site of the royals. The refreshed 19th century trail will feature the restored Raffles Garden and Farquhar Garden, which will showcase plants collected and documented by Sir Stamford Raffles and Singapore’s First Resident William Farquhar through their botanical explorations.
“Jubilee Park” will be restored where the King George V Jubilee Park was originally located at the junction of River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue. The park will avail more outdoor family-friendly venues for arts and culture activities in a garden setting. New amenities will include play features, a landscaped theatre and an event lawn.
Find out more about this restoration project here.
Sembawang Hot Spring, the only hot spring on mainland Singapore, will be developed into a community park 10 times its current size.
The Sembawang Hot Spring was discovered in 1908 on the grounds owned by a Chinese merchant, Seah Eng Keong. Since then, the land has changed hands a few times. It was once a thermal bathhouse for Japanese soldiers, after their occupation of Singapore during World War II.
Sembawang Hot Spring holds many memories for the community that has used it over the years. The design of the new Sembawang Hot Spring Park is shaped by the 'kampung-like' environment and will be kept rustic with various spaces where visitors can gather & enjoy the activities in this unique park. The design will be further refined with ideas and suggestions received from the public.
Work on the park will begin in early 2018 and are expected to be completed by 2019.
At 14 storeys high, the turbine comes with three 10.5-metre long-span rotor blades that produces an electrical output rating of 100 kilowatts, enough to power 45 four-room HDB units a year.
The wind turbine is also sensitive enough to generate power even with wind speeds as low as 3 metres/second, up to a maximum of 20 metres/second.
In partnership with French multinational electric utility company ENGIE, the new turbine is part of NTU’s Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator – Singapore (REIDS) initiative being built at Semakau Landfill. Under this initiative, several hybrid microgrids will be developed in the coming years, producing enough energy to power 100 four-room HDB flats for a whole year.
Along with the wind turbine, each of the hybrid microgrid will integrate with various renewable energy sources such as solar, tidal, diesel, and power-to-gas technologies. Currently, over 4,500 square metres of photovoltaic (PV) panels, large-scale lithium-ion energy storage systems as well as a hydrogen refuelling station are already operating on the island. Each of the microgrid is expected to produce stable and consistent power in the half-megawatt range, suitable for small islands, isolated residential areas, and emergency power supplies. The microgrids will eventually occupy over 64,000 square metres of land or roughly about nine soccer fields.
The Therapeutic Garden at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is situated near the pond gardens and was launched on 19 September 2017.
Therapeutic Gardens are outdoor gardens designed to meet the physical, psychological and social needs of park users, incorporating design principles derived from scientific evidence.
Together with therapeutic horticulture programmes involving plants and nature, visitors can experience a range of health benefits such as the relief of mental fatigue, reduced stress and an overall improvement to emotional well-being.
The garden is specially designed to engage the senses with a landscape of plants divided into four zones: Fragrance zone, Biodiversity zone, Edibles and Medicinal zone and Colours and Textures zone.
The 900sqm Therapeutic Garden at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park has design elements and user-friendly features to meet the needs of the elderly, including those with conditions such as dementia. It also provides respite for visitors of all ages.
The greenery and sensory aspects in the garden will provide visitors with a rehabilitative environment, providing relief from attention fatigue and stress. This is complemented by an outdoor activity area where therapeutic horticulture programmes will be carried out. Each session is about 1.5 hours and the activities are designed to stimulate participants’ senses and memories through nature interaction, and to encourage motor and hand-eye coordination.
Located near various eldercare and senior activity centres, the 750sqm Therapeutic Garden @ Tiong Bahru Park is designed to be elderly-friendly. It provides a holistic rehabilitative environment for conditions including dementia. The Garden also helps to relieve stress and brings restorative effects to the mental well-being of visitors of all ages.
The design elements in Therapeutic Garden @ Tiong Bahru Park are similar to the garden in HortPark. It has a simple and clear garden layout, seats facing different directions to provide various views, and the profusion of plants with colour, texture and scents to stimulate the senses. An area specifically designed for gardening with customised benches for potting makes it more convenient for the elderly and wheelchair users to participate in gardening, which improves their health and mental well-being.
The Garden also has raised planter beds of two heights to cater to different groups of visitors. The raised planter beds at a lower height encourages wheelchair users to interact with plants and flowers, while the taller raised planter beds enables seniors who have difficulty bending to do gardening while standing.
A rich variety of plants has been arranged in different zones to evoke visitors’ senses as they move along the pathway.
NParks developed and curated the St John’s Island Trail to encourage public appreciation for its rich biodiversity and the history of St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. The trail is part of NParks’ outreach initiatives on marine biodiversity under NParks’ Nature Conservation Masterplan, which consolidates Singapore’s biodiversity conservation efforts to help achieve Singapore’s City in a Garden vision.
The 2.8 km St John’s Island Trail comprises 15 stations marked with signboards that serve as both station markers and educational resources, highlighting the diversity of flora and fauna as well as the island’s colourful history.
St John’s Island is rich in local history. Since 1604, the island was marked on explorers’ maps. The island was planted extensively with crops in the mid-19th century, before it became a quarantine centre. In 1948, parts of the island were converted into a detention centre for political prisoners such as C. V. Devan Nair, who later became Singapore’s third President. From the 1970s onwards, the island has been mainly used for recreation and is popular with beach-goers and picnickers. Today, it serves as a base for marine research.
When you are on the island, try spotting Singapore’s tallest bird (1.15 m), the Great-billed Heron. It uses its dagger-like bill to spear large fish. This species is locally critically-endangered due to habitat loss.
Jurong Lake Gardens (JLG) is envisioned to be Singapore’s new national gardens in the heartlands, a people’s garden for leisure and recreation, and a model for sustainability in green development.
The 90-hectare gardens will comprise JLG West, JLG Central and JLG East. JLG West is currently undergoing development, and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. JLG Central and JLG East will be completed from 2020 onwards.
You can begin to enjoy JLG West from 2018! Look out for a meandering boardwalk that will bring people closer to nature, a nature-themed play area for kids, and a community lifestyle and water sports facility for activities such as kayaking and dragon boating.
JLG will be the first national gardens in the heartlands. It will complement two existing world-class national gardens – Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) and Gardens by the Bay (GB). SBG’s strength lies in its botanical emphasis, research and heritage value, whilst GB’s strength is in its themed gardens and sustainability efforts. JLG’s focus is to be a people’s garden accessible to all segments of the community.
JLG will be a unique leisure and recreation destination amongst the other major parks including East Coast Park, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Pasir Ris Park, and is strategically located to serve the western region of Singapore.
JLG is a vital green infrastructure that contributes to Jurong Lake District’s vision to be ‘a leading model for Singapore in developing a mixed-use urban district that is sustainable, smart and connected’. It will feature sustainable design systems and smart technologies that enable sustainable operation.
With more than 100 species of native plants on-site, the enhanced Native Garden @ HortPark by The National Parks Board (NParks) has the highest concentration of native plants, including edibles, shrubs and trees, in a single location in Singapore.
The Garden aims to promote the use of native plants in gardens and will provide visitors with a wealth of information on their uses (for food, medicine and timber), how they support native fauna, how they can be used in landscapes, and how to grow them.
The Native Garden features different landscapes that showcase native plants in their various natural habitats, and demonstrates how native plant species can be effectively used for urban landscaping. Aiming to provide an immersive experience, visitors will be able to see the Lasia spinosa in its native aquatic habitat, and the Lumnitzera littorea in its native mangrove habitat. These landscapes also provide habitats for fauna. In the rainforest zone, the running water from a man-made stream and the use of a combination of logs and rocks help to mimic a rainforest habitat conducive for insects, small mammals, reptiles and birds.
Visitors will also be able to explore the five zones where plants are categorised based on how they are used – as medicine, food, timber or to enhance habitats for birds and butterflies. Rare species such as the Nephelium maingayi, which has edible fruits that resemble hairless rambutans and taste like rambutans, can be found in the Food Zone, while the Knema globularia, which is found in the Bird Zone, has fruits that are eaten by the Oriental Pied Hornbill.