Enhancing urban environment with a focus on health and wellness, in conjunction with the launch of new publication to promote health and well-being in city planning
15 Sept 2023 – The National Parks Board (NParks) and KPMG in Singapore (KPMG) announced the completion of the multigenerational KPMG Wellness Garden. Collocating features that range from active play to tranquil nature-based interactions, this inclusive garden is accessible to park visitors of all ages and physical abilities and allows them to enjoy varying activities within one location. Encompassing a nature playgarden, therapeutic garden, nature fitness area, and a pond trail, each zone within the garden has been planned to cater to different user groups, ensuring inclusiveness and accessibility for all. Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for National Development, officially opened the KPMG Wellness Garden today.
The Wellness Garden contributes towards NParks’ initiative to establish 30 therapeutic gardens in parks across Singapore by 2030. Located at East Coast Park Area D, the Wellness Garden also showcases the successful collaboration between the private and public sectors, transforming urban environments into sustainable spaces that allow people to be brought closer to nature and to enjoy benefits such as improvements to their health and well-being.
KPMG, in partnership with NParks, has established the KPMG Wellness Garden as part of its 'Our Impact Plan', alongside its steadfast commitment to driving a global ESG agenda. The garden embodies the World Economic Forum's urban transformation framework, promoting health and inclusivity. The Wellness Garden is a prime example of urban planning for health and wellness. It serves as a sustainability and wellness hub, fostering community involvement through horticultural programmes and leveraging KPMG staff's volunteer efforts. The creation of the KPMG Wellness Garden is a significant milestone in KPMG's journey towards its ESG objectives, signifying a substantial development in its ongoing mission to create a lasting, positive societal impact.
For more information on KPMG’s involvement and how KPMG Wellness Garden showcases planning for health and well-being, refer to Factsheet A.
Inclusiveness, accessibility, and environmental sustainability were key considerations
Catering to the needs of the various community groups in Singapore, the Wellness Garden includes a nature playgarden for young children and a therapeutic garden to provide a more tranquil experience for seniors. This will encourage greater inter-generational interaction and foster family and community togetherness.
Located in Singapore’s largest and most popular park, it serves as an inclusive space for people across all generations to enjoy and experience the natural coastal environment, while enhancing their health and well-being, in a single setting.
To ensure accessibility for all visitors, especially seniors and individuals with different abilities, the garden incorporates barrier-free paths, abundant seating, and rest stops. Furthermore, the inclusion of play and fitness equipment caters to a diverse range of abilities and age groups, such as wheelchair-friendly trampolines and lookout platforms accessible by ramps.
Environmental sustainability is a core component of the Wellness Garden’s design, with the reuse of materials such as rocks and upcycled logs sourced from East Coast Park, showcasing resource conservation and circularity. Native plant species were also used to support habitat restoration efforts at the site.
The development of the Wellness Garden is supported by contributions from KPMG, through NParks’ registered charity and IPC, the Garden City Fund.
For more information on the highlights of the KPMG Wellness Garden, refer to Factsheet B.
Contributing towards efforts to intensify nature in gardens and parks
As part of Singapore’s transformation into a City in Nature, NParks has been working with partners such as KPMG to introduce more contemplative landscapes island-wide and weave nature more intensively into our urban landscape, to allow more people to benefit from such provisions in their living environment. These benefits have been backed by numerous scientific studies and include reduced stress, improvements in mental resilience, and desirable changes in mood and brain activity.
The nature playgarden is also part of NParks’ Biophilic Playgarden Plan to implement biophilic nature playgardens throughout Singapore. By encouraging children to spend more time outdoors and foster a deeper connection with nature, these playgardens potentially help to enhance their overall well-being.
Advancing health and well-being through inclusive, nature-centric initiatives
KPMG is dedicated to fostering an immersive nature-centric experience within the Wellness Garden's four unique zones for beneficiaries such as the elderly, children, and individuals with special needs or disabilities. The objective is to establish a secure, engaging environment that encourages these individuals to connect with nature and its many benefits. KPMG is also committed to partnering community organisations facilitate diverse activities, such as educational nature tours aimed at enhancing biodiversity awareness and promoting environmental education, in addition to horticulture programmes.
In line with KPMG’s social commitments to catalyse positive community impact, KPMG will also provide its ongoing support to fund horticulture programmes held at the garden over the next five years, starting from 2024. This underscores KPMG’s unwavering commitment to fostering well-being and sustainability within the community.
Mr Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner of KPMG in Singapore said, “Today's urban planning is a blend of ESG principles, health, wellness, and inclusivity. The KPMG Wellness Garden is a testament to this, setting a benchmark for sustainable urban spaces. This accessible garden demonstrates our ability to marry environmental sustainability with societal wellness. Built using eco-friendly practices, it reflects our commitment to a sustainable future. Features like the barrier-free boardwalk highlight our focus on inclusivity and health. Our partnership with the National Parks Board exemplifies the power of community collaboration in creating public spaces that resonate with people. We encourage stakeholders in urban development to draw inspiration from such initiatives for a sustainable urban future."
“Alongside park-goers and the community, we are excited that the opening of the KPMG Wellness Garden at East Coast Park will provide additional recreational opportunities for people with diverse needs across all ages, to experience nature’s benefits for better health and overall well-being. It is through the support of partners like KPMG that will bring us closer to transforming Singapore into a City in Nature” said Professor Emeritus Leo Tan, Chairman, Garden City Fund.
Launch of new publication on planning a City for Health and Well-being
At the event, Minister Indranee Rajah also launched the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC)’ latest publication, titled the Urban Systems Studies: Planning a City for Health and Well-being. This publication documents Singapore’s journey in planning and developing the city to protect, provide for, and promote the health of the people. The publication also details how Singapore is creating liveable and inclusive environments that promote health, such as encouraging Universal Design for the built environment to address the physical, social, and psychological needs of various demographic groups. In addition to Singapore’s health development journey, this Urban Systems Studies edition serves as a guide for policy makers who are interested in understanding how the interaction of different domains impacts the health and well-being of residents.
The launch of the new publication is timely with the opening of the new Wellness Garden, which provides an example of how NParks works with its partners to introduce spaces for the community, catered to different groups of users, to promote physical, social, and mental health and well-being.
A copy of the publication is publicly available on CLC’s website at https://go.gov.sg/usshealth
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About National Parks Board (NParks)
The National Parks Board (NParks) is responsible for enhancing and managing the urban ecosystems of our City in Nature. We are the lead agency for greenery, biodiversity conservation, and wildlife and animal health, welfare and management. We are also working closely with the community to enhance the quality of our living environment.
NParks manages more than 350 parks, 3,347 hectares of nature reserves, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Pulau Ubin and the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. Adding to this is the extensive network of Nature Ways, and the over 300 km Park Connector Network that links major parks, nature areas and residential estates island-wide. Every year, we run over 3,500 educational and outreach programmes across our various green spaces.
NParks has developed an urban biodiversity conservation model, which aims to conserve representative ecosystems in land-scarce Singapore. NParks also monitors and coordinates measures to enhance the presence of biodiversity in our urban landscape.
NParks is working closely with partners in the landscape, horticulture, veterinary and animal sectors to increase productivity, and provide training for all levels of the workforce. Enhancing competencies of the industry will support Singapore’s vision of being a City in Nature.
KPMG in Singapore is part of a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 143 countries and territories with more than 265,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.