Singapore: The Garden City

While taking a stroll today along the Capella compound, enjoying the lush greenery surrounding the estate, I happened to walk past a Ficus Kerkhovenii or more commonly known as a Ficus or Johor Fig.  Passing a Ficus may not altogether seem very exciting; after all Singapore proudly bears the label “Garden City,” which would suggest a vibrant array of flora and fauna.  However, this Ficus is one of Capella’s five heritage trees.  Heritage trees are trees that are more than 100 years old and are admired as one of Singapore’s original tenants.

 

 

Singapore has taken active steps in preserving much of its lush greenery.  One reason for this devout emphasis on the environment lies in an old Chinese myth.  In the myth Singapore appears as the back of a green turtle.  The turtle is an important creature in Chinese culture as it symbolizes longevity.  It is this association that originally drove residents to take maintaining their community seriously.

Superstitions aside, this emphasis on the environment helps to set Singapore apart from other major cities throughout the world.  By taking great care to preserve natural vegetation, Singapore is not just another concrete jungle.  I was speaking with a guest who commented, “I can’t believe all of the plants within the city—even among the roads and buildings.  It makes it so easy to escape the urban mentality.”  I could not agree more.  Singapore has really found a balance between the fast paced corporate drive and the tranquility of nature.

 

 

Capella Singapore has truly embraced this greener attitude.  Out of our 30 acres only 40% is built out with structures and roads.  The other 60% is greenery.  When I step outside my office it is easy to forget the day’s stress.  Our compound truly captures Singapore’s “Garden City” status.

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