City in Nature: Could Singapore become the world’s greenest city?

The poster child for sustainable cities in Asia is making good on its promise through its consistent eco-first approach

The lush urban greenery is a result of sustained and dedicated efforts to green up Singapore. chanchaiduangdoosan/Shutterstock

Singapore is the centre of the green agenda in the Asia Pacific region, pioneering the movement through green architecture and sustainable developments. 

According to the Energy Transition Index by the World Economic Forum, Singapore is ahead of its Asian neighbours in terms of its advancement towards a more “inclusive, sustainable, affordable, and secure energy system.” Knight Frank also recently named the city-state as the top ranking in its APAC Sustainability Led Cities Index, outperforming Sydney, Wellington, Perth, and Melbourne. 

Since Singapore is a small, highly urbanised island nation with limited resources, the country has been consistent in coming up with eco-friendly solutions and has introduced a wide array of sustainable initiatives to become more self-sufficient, to efficiently serve its growing population, and to transform into a ‘City in Nature’.  

In 2021, the government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to further propel the movement by understanding how humans and animals can live harmoniously, planting one million more trees across the country, allocating 50 percent more land (roughly 200 hectares) for nature parks, and developing parks within a 10-minute walk of any residential development.  

“Today, Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world. The lush urban greenery that we have is a result of sustained and dedicated efforts to green up Singapore over the past few decades,” said Damian Tang, senior director in design at National Parks Board, told ArchDaily. 

The real estate industry has also taken it upon itself to push forward the agenda, thanks to such initiatives introduced by government sectors throughout the years. Among the premier developers who are active in this movement garnered several recognitions at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore) 2021, including Frasers Property Singapore’s Frasers Towers for Best Green Office Development, UOL Group Limited’s Pan Pacific Orchard for Best Green Hotel Development, as well as GuocoLand and UOL Group Limited for the Special Recognition in Sustainable Design and Construction accolade.  

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The newly launched scheme by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 will guide more industry players in the coming years, with three primary targets referred to as “80-80-80 in 2030”, reported South China Morning Post. 

The first target aims to “green 80 percent of buildings (by gross floor area) by 2030”. Through their Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings valued at USD45.6 million, BCA will assist owners in renovating buildings to improve its sustainability standards and help the country reach its target. 

Next is to ensure that by 2030, 80 percent of new projects will be super low energy (SLE) buildings. To achieve this, the board will offer incentives to private sector developers on non-government land sales as long as they accomplish the requirements, including the Green Mark Platinum SLE certification. 

The third target encourages high-class developments to improve its energy efficiency by at least 80 percent beyond the 2005 benchmark by 2030. With USD32 million in funds, BCA will aid in the development, testing, and implementation of green solutions and technologies for these buildings. 

With these latest initiatives in place and the support from the government and real estate sector, Singapore is on track to become the greenest city in the world, hopefully by 2030. 

To find out who will nab the prestigious titles and represent their country at the Grand Final, visit when we announce the winners on 28 October 2022. 

Gynen Kyra Toriano, Digital Content Manager at PropertyGuru, wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].