City Square Urban Park, by ONG & ONG, Singapore. Urban parks have an essential role in transforming and enriching our cities. They are indicators for the livability and sustainability of cities and play an important role as catalysts for community development and enhancement. City Square Urban Park was designed by ONG & ONG with the purpose to create a learning experience about ecology and the natural environment. Through this project, the landscape architects show a high level of creativity, excellence, and commitment. With their in-depth knowledge of the local context, culture, and regulation, they place importance on education as a key element in the philanthropic effort. Let’s find out the two most important benefits of an urban park for a neighborhood viewed through the lens of City Square Urban Park in Singapore.
City Square Urban Park
An urban park is an open space area dominated by vegetation and water that is generally reserved for public use. Located in Singapore, a global financial center with a multicultural population, City Square Urban Park is itself a place for meeting different nations and cultures. Like in many other controversial cases, City Square Urban Park fronts a mall’s entrance, giving the impression of privacy and exclusion for some disadvantaged social groups. Questions such as “Can I relax in the park without buying something?” or “Do I feel comfortable here? Am I desired here?” arise in the minds of people who are not sure about using the park.
Two Main Objectives of The Park
Dealing with this controversy, the landscape architects evolved the park’s recreational role to a place where people can understand nature and moreover interact with other social groups. These two ways of approaching landscape architecture – understanding nature and building social bridges – is the perfect strategy for a successful urban park.
Opportunities in The Park
The most important benefits of urban parks are the opportunity to learn about nature and social cohesion. These benefits occur in urban parks due to the ease of access to the site compared to other city areas and due to the provided facilities for outdoor activities, which attract different groups of people.
1. Understanding the Created Nature
ONG & ONG landscape architects declared that this urban park is a constant reminder of the importance of environmental conservation. A better understanding of the created nature is provided through multiple different design elements such as the eco-wall, the Butterfly Garden, the eco-roof, the green maze, and the fountain park.
The Eco Roof
The eco-roof is loaded with solar panels and low-E glass panels (low-E coating reduces the amount of heat transfer) that produce energy, which turns into lighting, regulates the temperature, and also controls wind circulation. The message of clean energy is consequently propagated to the park’s visitors, who have the chance to better understand the created nature.
Main Features in The Park
Additionally, rare wildlife riches can be admired in the Butterfly Garden. ONG & ONG landscape architects help people understanding nature through the use of eco-friendly materials. Eco-tiles and recycled timber were used at the playground. The fountain park brings another important and beloved element – the water – into the learning process. This area provides interactive water play and is known as a distinctive communal meeting point. While in the Green Maze, kids can get lost in a planet-friendly world; adults can learn from the eco-wall about recycling and conservation. By means of these design elements, the local scale’s importance was extended on a neighborhood level, where the park is seen as a green lung.
2. Creating Social Bridges
City Square Urban Park is not only a place to understand and relate to the created nature, but also a place for social and cultural cohesion. The social cohesion is facilitated by creating this public space for social interaction. The impact of parks on the revitalization of communities is best illustrated in multicultural cities such as Singapore. City Square Urban Park provides multiple activities outside of recreational opportunities, which attract different people, including seniors and teens.
Connecting People Through Landscape Design
Residents and visitors have the chance to interact on an area of approximately 0.45 hectares. Walking on a series of spaces connected by footpaths, old and young can admire the natural environment. By playing with water at the fountain park, children with different social and ethnic backgrounds are exchanging personal experiences.
Facilitating Local Community Development
Looking at the increased level of migration and thus of multicultural societies, as a result of globalization processes over the past decades, most of the contacts between people occur in public spaces such as parks. Consequently, City Square Urban Park facilitates local community development.The residents are able to meet and to establish relationships. Interacting with others helps people to participate in society and to create feelings of acceptance. The presence of natural elements in the design of urban parks attracts residents and visitors to outdoor activities and enhances opportunities for people to connect. Understanding the created nature also means building social bridges in a multicultural society. Therefore, ONG & ONG architects have created more than just a recreational environment. What do you think are other major beneifts of an urban park?
Full Project Credits For City Square Urban Park
Project: City Square Urban Park Location: Singapore Designers: ONG & ONG Completion: 2009 Gross floor area: 4,952.80 sqm Architect: ONG&ONG Pte Ltd Project Directors: Steven Low Photographer: See Chee Keong Structural & Civil: Meinhardt (S) Pte Ltd Mechanical & Electrical: Parsons Brinckerhoff Pte Ltd Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon & Seah (S) Pte Ltd Recommended Reading:
- Urban Design by Alex Krieger
- The Urban Design Handbook: Techniques and Working Methods (Second Edition) by Urban Design Associates
Article by Ruth Coman Return to HomepagePublished in