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Singapore: The Garden City-State

The arts building on Nanyang Technological University campus, as seen from the green roof.

Judi went to Singapore to study abroad, but she wasn't expecting this kind of education.

As one of the four emerging Asian Tigers (along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan), Singapore has developed quite a global reputation. When I would tell people back in Canada that I was planning to take an academic exchange to Singapore, everyone seemed to produce a similar response along the lines of: That’s great! It’s such a clean city and the shopping is amazing!

While both these things are true, one thing that I had not heard about, however, is how green the city is. Trees line highway medians throughout the city. The entire country, especially Nanyang Technological University’s campus, is teeming with green roofs and gardens. The Arts, Design and Media building, in particular, is a salute to green architecture. It has been featured in several publications for its turf roofs that lower the building and the surrounding area’s temperature. This reduces the use of air-conditioning in the building’s stop motion, 3D computer graphics, soundstage and visual editing studios.

Needless to say, green innovation was not something I had expected, coming into the third most densely populated country on Earth with more than 7,792 people per square km in 2012. But after the concrete jungle of Toronto, the greenery provided a refreshing change.

All of this greenery is possible simply because the country understands that as a small island nation, they have a very limited amount of resources to work with. They have used this to develop an innovative sustainability development blueprint that aims to improve energy efficiency by 35 per cent by 2030, maintain a 70 per cent recycling rate and ensure 0.8 hectares of green space for every 1000 people. (This would total 4,146 hectares or about 6 per cent of the country’s landmass for a population of just over 5 million.) In order to help utilize this space, many of the green areas around the city are open to visitors (such as the Chinese and Botanical Gardens). This allows the green space to the potential to earn income and provides the opportunity to ensure that tourists and Singaporeans alike are well educated on the importance of conservation.

The country serves as a great example for innovative and green development and is an amazing place to be able to study abroad in.

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Judi Zienchuk

Judi Zienchuk has studied her way across Southeast Asia and boarded down volcanoes in Central America. When she's not gallivanting the globe, you can find her on a bike or consuming large amounts of caffeine. Check out her blog, Travvel Sized.

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