In one of Asia's Most Artificial Cities, a River Flows Free
Heavily paved and densely populated, Singapore loses most of its often-substantial rainfall to runoff and evaporation. As a result, the southeast Asian city-state is heavily dependent on Malaysia for its drinking water. As part of a master plan to hold onto more of its rainwater, the government agreed to let German landscape architect Herbert Dreiseitl liberate 2.7 kilometers of the Kallang River from a concrete channel and let it meander freely through the 62-acre Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
The goal of the project, and the master plan, is to collect, slow down, and store more of Singapore's natural rainfall. To get approval for the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio project, Dreiseitl had to overcome the government's concerns that a natural river would be a flood risk -- and invest some of his own money. However, since the project was completed, Dreiseitl found the river's capacity to hold water has increased. Other benefits include increased biodiversity and offering a natural landscape to entice people outside in a city where most of life takes place in air conditioning.
Thanks to Rachel Proctor May