A Green Opportunity
By National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, 9 Jul 2011 (this was posted on his blog).
I love greenery. In Sembawang, we did a lot to green up the place. In the new hospital in Yishun, we set out to build a “hospital in a garden” and we succeeded.
Seven weeks into MND, I have been flooded with emails and FB comments, 99% of them on housing, quite understandably.
But there were a few non-housing comments.
I got one from a medical school student, interested in the “preservation and continued development of Singapore’s urban culture”. She referred me to the Green Corridor Project being proposed by the Nature Society, suggesting the possibilities that we could create after Malayan Railway moved its station from Tj Pagar to Woodlands. She referred me to the New York’s High Line project which was quite inspirational.
I too see a green opportunity in this development.
Indeed, URA and NParks had been working on this idea. They are studying creative ways to plan our urban development along the Railway track to keep a green spine for nature and leisure, without compromising the developmental potential of the railway lands. The latter is important as ours is a tiny island.
I would love to lead this project myself. But housing now takes up almost all my time.
Fortunately, I have a green-minded MOS Tan Chuan-jin with me. He readily volunteered to work on this project and saw several useful angles: the green aspect, heritage and history, and innovative land use marrying development and conservation that is so characteristic of our city.
He took on this assignment with gusto. He is trekking the track today with several like-minded Singaporeans from several NGOs, including the Nature Society. I told him to consult widely, discuss with experts, volunteers, students and residents.
Let’s work with all interested Singaporeans to co-develop the idea into a practical and workable scheme.
MOS Tan saw this as a positive uplifting opportunity to capture the imagination of Singaporeans. Or as the medical student put it, it “presents a unique juxtaposition of nature, industry and recreation that few other cities in the world can offer”.
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Source: Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s blog