Singapore's Park in the Sky
Flickr: alner s
Move Over High Line
Singapore's Telok Blangah Hill Park is a dreamscape for city-bound nature lovers. A sleek fly-over infrastructure of bridges and platforms elevates visitors above the forest floor to give them a "monkey perspective," with minimal effect on the greenery below, writes Pop-Up City. The views also include a 360-degree panorama of the city, a reminder that the city isn't -- and needn't be -- far away from the country.
Used as an important trading spot beginning in the early 19th century, the park has now found a more stable balance between the goings-on of the city and the buzz of the wilderness. It's a balance often struck in Singapore and Hong Kong, too, cities that have sought a jarring but valuable mixture of urban density and tropical topology.
Like an immense, inverse version of New York's High Line, the park's high steel walkways allow visitors to pass over mangrove forests, the Sungei Cina river and stretches of tall trees, such as Eugenia, Alstonia and Rain trees. The park's wildlife includes squirrels, sunbirds, doves, lizards and white-crested laughing thrushes.
One of the most exciting vantages is from the stunning, undulating, balau-paneled Henderson Waves, which at 12 stories tall, is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge. From here, Alexandra Arch, which looks like an opened leaf spread across Alexandra Road, leads to Forest Walk, which is made up of an elevated walkway for pedestrians and earth trail for cyclists.
Flickr: Eustaquio Santimano
Even researchers take advantage of the HSBC Treetop Walk, a 250m-long suspension bridge, to study the rain forest canopy, Inhabitat notes. Plaques describe the park's flora, and monthly nature walks give visitors background on the surrounding ecosystem. a Plant-A-Tree program collects donations of $200 that go towards planting trees in this park and other parks around Singapore.
And every night Henderson Waves and Alexandra Arch are illuminated with a color-changing LED lightshow.
Like Singapore's landfill-turned-eco-reserve, the park looks like a shining example of how elegant architecture and green spaces can healthily interact.
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