Singapore leads the way with biophilic design, embracing nature in the construction of its buildings

A new approach to design and architecture that involves the use of natural materials, natural light and plants to create a more pleasing and effective built environment is being adopted by Singapore.

Known as Biophilic Design, the concept means architects embrace nature in their design, bringing nature into the city, replacing columns, walls and neon with trees, leaves and wildlife.

The island city-state of Singapore has a network of trails and pathways that connect parks and green spaces to one another. These park connectors allow people to walk, bike, and jog between various green spaces without leaving vegetated areas.

Singapore has made efforts to integrate nature into its vertical spaces using biophilic design. A number of high-rise apartments, office buildings, and hotels have installed green roofs and indoor hanging gardens to help reduce the effects of urban heat island.

Landsat Images show that while the city grew in population by some 2 million between 1986 and 2007, percentage of the island in green area actually increased as well, from 36% to 47%.

Today, Singapore has in its midst four nature reserves—Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Labrador Nature Reserve. They represent the range of natural habitats forming the main sources of biodiversity: from primary to secondary lowland rainforests to freshwater swamp forest, mangroves and mudflats.

To bolster the resilience of the nature reserves, a network of nature parks has been set up to buffer against the impacts of urbanisation. These parks mitigate edge effects by reducing wind and heat, and serve as barriers against invasive species. They also provide complementary habitats for native biodiversity.

Image Credit:  © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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