Singapore's Gardens on the Move: Green bus roofs bring biodiversity back to urban environment
Updated 17:23, 09-Jul-2019
The roof of a bus is probably the last place where you would think of placing a garden or greenery. But that is exactly what Singapore has done. Being hailed as the first of its kind in Asia - a three-month project has been launched in the city state. Green roofs on public buses is an attempt to bring biodiversity back into the urban environment. CGTN's Miro Lu reports.
Singapore, the land of roadside greens, parks, forest reserves and vertical gardens. A true definition of a 'City in a Garden'. And now the city-state is taking its vision a step further - by putting greenery on the roofs of public buses. Known as the 'Gardens on the Move' initiative, the project is being headed by urban greening specialist GWS Living Art, with funding from the Temasek Foundation.
ZAC TOH FOUNDER, GWS LIVING ART "Your normal green roof system is 150 kgs per meter square. This (green roofs on buses) becomes like 25-40 kgs. And everything is pre-grown and taken care of and we just lay it on the roof. So, it is like a carpet. So, the maintenance is a lot lower because you don't need to really check on the plants. When they wash the bus manually, so they just water the green roof. Then if there is rain, then the green will be watered by the rain."
The initiative is part of a study to see whether the greenery can help lower the temperature inside the bus and in turn, help reduce the fuel needed for air conditioning.
MIRO LU SINGAPORE "'The Gardens on the Move' campaign draws inspiration from Singapore's Skyrise Greenery. Research shows that temperature can be reduced by 20 to 30 degrees just by adding green roofs on buildings. The idea is to inject greenery back into the city and combat what is called the Urban Heat Island effect."
TERRENCE TAN, RESEARCH FELLOW SCHOOL OF DESIGN AND ENVIRONMENT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE "The urban heat island effect, it is basically the city being hotter than forest areas. So, by introducing greenery back to the city, in so many forms, we are effectively improving the environment collectively.  You are greening up the urban landscape and changing the texture of the urban fabric."
Singapore Green Building Council explains after skyrise gardens, vertical greenery, rooftops of vehicles are the next logical step towards sustainable living in an urban setting.
DR. HO NYOK YONG PRESIDENT, SINGAPORE GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL "Very innovative putting the roof system onto the bus, on a moving bus because the bus will move to the city, you know, will move to the heartlands, to HDB heartlands, there will be a lot of commuters, but the residents, can see very clearly what is happening."
Greening initiatives have been the cornerstone of Singapore's identity. And this latest endeavour is another testament to the city-state's unrelenting pursuit to becoming a nation where sustainability and urbanisation run parallel to one another. Miro Lu, CGTN, Singapore.