Nature of the city, nature within city: a few perspectives on the forms of nature through the landscape typologies of Singapore public estates

Tchapi, M. 2018. Nature of the city, nature within city: a few perspectives on the forms of nature through the landscape typologies of Singapore public estates. International Planning History Society Conference. Yokohama 15 - 19 Jul 2018

TitleNature of the city, nature within city: a few perspectives on the forms of nature through the landscape typologies of Singapore public estates
AuthorsTchapi, M.
TypeConference keynote
Abstract

Urban nature is facing social and ecological challenges to target the sustainable ideal, in which nature would associate the idea of human and ecological well-being. Worldwide, are increasing the citizen ecological awareness and their participation to the shaping of urban greening, portraying nature as a powerful instrument for the regeneration or the planning of qualitative public space in urban neighbourhoods. It is the emergence of a sensitive relationship toward landscape, in which nature became a key mediator on the individual and social search for local meaning and sense of place. In the globalizing context of megacities, this relationship is extended from the urban neighbourhood to the regional scale.

Since its independence, Singapore successfully went through the tremendous challenge of accommodating its citizen in decent and affordable housing. The increase of public housing number has been the opportunity in parallel to challenge the neighbourhood landscape for more than 50 years, from monotonous typologies inherited from the two first generations of public housing neighbourhoods, toward the implementation of new prototypes more recently. In the city-state nature became a national emblem by serving both a political vision and economic interests.

The “technicizing” of nature through the prism of innovation questions its intrinsic value. Nature enslaved? Within urban contexts, the perception of nature is denatured. Whether planned or fortuitous, nature has various appearances ranging from highly manicured to informal or even "wild" forms, which reflect its socio-cultural level of acceptance and understanding.

This article will present an historical overview of the landscape typologies in the public housing of Singapore, proclaimed garden city by the former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. On the new environmental paradigm spectrum, it will depict and question the evolving status of nature within public housing neighbourhoods, which is the object of diverse experimentations of the landscape of the public space, from the vertical green to the biophilic city ideal.

Keywordsurban nature, landscape typologies, Singapore HDB, urban neighbourhood greening
Year2018
ConferenceInternational Planning History Society Conference

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