The next sustainable city is Singapore. Located in South East Asia, the city is a country in its own right with a population of nearly 6 million. Having been lucky enough to visit the city a couple of times, it is a spectacular city and is almost pioneering new ways forward to become more sustainable.
In 2010 the city-state was ranked 30th in the world in carbon dioxide emissions. Between 1992 and 2010, emissions rose by over 150% (More information can be found here). The population is also rising in the city, making sustainable changes that much more necessary and needed now and in the future. In 2016, Singapore ratified the Paris Climate Agreement pledging to reduce its emissions by 16% by 2020 and by 36% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels), targets that the country is on target to achieve.
The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint
Back in 2015, Singapore created the ‘Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015’. In this document, it sets out each way that Singapore aims to become a vibrant and sustainable city. It aims to increase the number and quality of ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces in the city. Currently, more than 80% of households are within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space and more than half of residential and a third of commercial buildings have been ‘greened’. These ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces have increased over recent years and are expected to continue with the implementation of the Blueprint.
The amount of sustainable transport has also increased. In a country that is just over 700km2, the rail network is 180km, a huge amount of buses that run at regular times, and efficiently, and more than 100km of cycle paths. Water consumption is also reducing and the national recycling rate increased to just over 60% in 2013.
The Blueprint outlines three aims for Singapore to become:
- A Liveable and Endearing Home
- A Vibrant and Sustainable City
- An Active and Gracious Community
To become a ‘Liveable and Endearing Home’ Singapore wants to push ‘eco-smart’ endearing towns to improve convenience and a better quality life, and a ‘car-lite’ city that encourages walking and cycling as popular forms of getting around the city. Sustainable transport is an area that every city in the world can improve, and Singapore is just one city that is pushing to move away from automobility and the dominance of the car, to multi-modality and a mixture of transport methods.
The aim of becoming a ‘Vibrant and Sustainable City’ focuses on the cities ability to become a zero-waste nation and develop a leading green economy. Singapore is looking to facilitate a number of initiatives, particularly in new high-rise developments, that improve recycling as well as reducing the amount of waste from residents. Singapore also aims to invest heavily in the use of renewables in the national energy system and develop new innovation districts, including creating thousands of jobs in the energy sector.
Finally, to become an ‘Active and Gracious Community’ Singapore aims to engage the public, businesses and other stakeholders to enhance and improve the sustainability of Singapore. The combination of these three aims will all contribute to Singapore becoming a more environmentally-friendly, having a stronger, ‘greener’ economy, and more social communities.
More information on the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint can be found here.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is perhaps the most unique of all of Singapore’s landscapes. Whilst many cities around the world have large botanical gardens within them, the Supertrees, which stand up to 16 storeys high, are iconic landmarks in the Singapore skyline. The tall structures are covered in nearly 163,000 plants from 200 different varieties and also have solar photovoltaic cells and water storage capabilities making them sustainable. During they day they provide shelter from the sun in a climate that can be very warm almost all year round and produce an amazing light show during the evenings.
Singapore is a growing city. The population has been rising relatively quickly over recent decades and will continue to do so in the future. It is also reclaiming huge amounts of land for it to expand in to. With that expansion, emissions predictably increase. However, the 2015 Sustainable Singapore Blueprint aims to bring down emissions and improve the social issues that come with a growing population, all whilst transitioning a developing, industrial economy to a innovative, ‘green’ economy. With the growing economy that it has, Singapore certainly has the potential to become a leader in sustainability and will certainly be interesting to see how the city develops in the future.