Otter-ly Cute: The Success of Otters in the Urban Waterways of Singapore

Singapore’s waterways have seen a massive transformation over the past few decades. From being highly polluted, filled with trash and sewage as the Singapore River was in the late 1970s, Singapore’s waters have never been cleaner after the launch of the Clean River Campaign in 1977 (Xu, 2019). Since then, ecological conditions have improved, making urban waterways habitable  for otters, semi-aquatic mammals that have well-adapted to Singapore’s urban environment. Today, as many as 70 otters can be found in Singapore, thriving in the canals and rivers that link the country’s various water bodies, and are often sighted much to the surprise of members of the public (Turrell, 2020). In fact, these charismatic mammals have gained much popularity among local followers and even attracted fans across the globe (Ishak, 2020)!

An illustration showing the differences between the smooth-coated and Asian small-clawed otters that are commonly seen in Singapore.

The two main species of otters that can be found in Singapore (Xu, 2019)

So how did these otters get here and settle in Singapore’s urban environment? Were they originally in Singapore or did they immigrate from elsewhere? 

Historically, otters used to be found in Singapore in the 1960s. However, due to habitat disruption and water pollution from land reclamation and urban development, otter populations declined and eventually disappeared sometime between 1970 to 1980 (Sivasothi & Nor, 1994). As water quality improved after 1977, otters began to return to the waterways of Singapore possibly when a population swam across the Johor Straits from Malaysia to the North side of Singapore. Thereafter, sightings have been noted in Sungei Buloh Wetland Nature Reserve, Ang Mo Kio (AMK)-Bishan Park and even Marina Bay (Xu, 2019)!

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Otters spotted along a path in Marina Bay (Photo credits: Bernard “Ottergrapher” Seah)

Why are otters so successful in Singapore’s urban environment?

There are three main reasons why otters have been able to adapt and establish populations successfully in Singapore.

  1. Otters mainly eat fish (piscivorous), but they are also able to accommodate a wide diet which includes prawns, crabs and even amphibians (Theng et al., 2016). As urban waterways are abundant with fish, particular exotic fish species such as Tilapia, they have been able to support the local otter populations that we see today (AMK-Bishan population, Marina Bay population, etc). In addition, most of the waterways in Singapore are connected, allowing otters to swim from one place to another in search for more food!
  2. Otters are semi-aquatic and thus they require dry land for grooming (rolling on grass/sand/soil), resting, sleeping and even seeking refuge from disturbances in vegetation (Theng & Sivasothi, 2016). As such, riparian zones are highly important for the survival of otters. Since the landscape of most urban waterways are gently sloping, such as that of AMK-Bishan Park and Marina Bay, as opposed to being vertical concrete walls, they allow for otters to access land from the waterways easily. Additionally, otters have been noted to exploit urban sites such as canals as holts (resting sites), which are normally holes dug in the ground by otters in the wild (Turrell, 2020). This level of adaptability to utilise urban structures and waterways has therefore enabled them to be successful in Singapore.
  3. Lastly, there are no natural predators in urban waterways that threaten their survival such as wild/stray dogs. Otters are hence the apex predators in urban waterway habitats (Theng et al., 2016). Plus, humans love otters – who would want to remove them from our waterways? (Except for several occasions when otters sneaked into a residential area and devoured $80,000 worth of koi fish, but that is another topic for discussion in itself. More about it here)

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A young otter pup with its catch of the day: a crayfish (Photo credits:  Bernard “Ottergrapher” Seah)

As such, these are the reasons why otters are able to make a comeback in Singapore and adapt to the country’s urban waterways so well. Otter populations have been doing so well that recently, the AMK-Bishan family has clashed with the Marina Bay family in Kallang Basin to expand their territory! (video of their ‘violent’ gang fight below)

Hopefully, the otter population will continue to grow bigger in future and bring more joy to Singaporeans as humans and otters co-exist together.





Ishak, N. S. (2019, January 14). Singapore otters a hit overseas. Retrieved on 18 April 2020, from:

Sivasothi, N. & B. H. M. Nor (1994). A review of otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Lutrinae) in Malaysia and Singapore. Hydrobiologia, 285: 151-170.

Theng, M. & N., Sivasothi & Tan, H. (2016). Diet of the smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) at natural and modified sites in Singapore. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 64. 290-301.

Theng, M. & N., Sivasothi (2016). The Smooth-Coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (Mammalia: Mustelidae) in Singapore: Establishment and Expansion in Natural and Semi-Urban Environments. IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin. 33. 37-49.

Turrell, C. (2020, March 10). Cheeky otters are thriving in Singapore-and adapting quickly to big city life. Retrieved on 18 April 2020, from:

Xu, K. (2019, March 8). The otter side of Singapore. Retrieved on 18 April 2020, from:

Nature Deficit Disorder in the time of COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore has issued a ‘circuit breaker’ where Singaporeans have been advised to stay home as much as possible. Non-essential workers have to work from home, and schools are carrying out home-based learning. Only essential activities like going to get groceries, or getting packed food are allowed. Shopping malls, gymnasiums, and swimming pools are also closed, leaving the only option for Singaporeans’ leisure to be parks.

Singapore, being a 100% urbanised city, has a population that suffers from Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Although NDD is not an official medical diagnosis, it is an explanation for erratic behaviours, moods, and poor health, in an individual due to the lack of time spent in nature or outdoors.

With the implementation of the ‘circuit breaker’, people are being forced to spend time outdoors and in parks for leisure since they are the only places of leisure that still remain accessible. Studies have shown that by spending more time in nature, one should see an improvement in their health and mood. Does this mean that once we come out of this pandemic and ‘circuit breaker’, Singaporeans will be a healthier and happier group of people? It’s possible.

On the other hand, some people do not have the privilege of spending time outside. Since everything is now based at home, it blurs the line between work and rest, resulting in work being more demanding. For essential workers (healthcare workers, supermarket retail assistants, delivery riders, etc.), they would be required to be at their jobs which are now asking even more from them. Along with the high levels of stress at work coupled with the lack of time available to spend in nature, would this further exacerbate the effects of NDD? It’s possible.

Therefore, this is something for all of us to consider. The Singaporean habit which leaves us detached from nature is concerning when it comes to NDD. However, will the ‘circuit breaker’ caused by COVID-19 be able to alleviate the problems of NDD that is widespread in a highly urbanised city like Singapore? Or will it exacerbate the problem instead?


Ministry of Health Singapore. (2020, April 3). Circuit Breaker to Minimise Further Spread of COVID-19 [Press release]. Retrieved April, 2020, from

Louv, R. (2013). Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. London: Atlantic Books.

University of East Anglia, UEA Norwich Medical School. (2018, July 6). It’s official – spending time outside is good for you [Press release]. Retrieved April, 2020, from

Zero-Energy Buildings

Concrete buildings frame our urban landscape backdrop in view of limited land space in Singapore. Buildings are everywhere to feed our industrialisation needs. Therefore, the development of sustainable buildings is prudent in achieving our environmental goals of curbing rising greenhouse gases emission. 1980s saw the birth of low-energy buildings which are buildings that uses less energy than a standard building that house the same amenities. In recent years, we witness a new wave of energy efficient buildings entering the picture – Zero-Energy buildings. Zero-Energy buildings produces as much renewable energy as it needs and is not connected to the nation’s electricity grid (Wall, 2017). It has myriad of benefits including reduction in carbon dioxide emission, being energy saving and contributing to environmental protection (Deng et al., 2014).

The design is guided by 5 basic principles of Green Building:

  • Sustainable Site Design
  • Water Conservation and Quality
  • Energy and Environment
  • Conservation of resources and reuse of materials
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

Zero-Energy building reached Singapore’s shore in 2009. As part of Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Building Masterplan, an existing building within BCA Academy was revamped into a Zero-Energy Building. It is fully powered by three generations of photovoltaic systems that harnesses energy from the sun. Key features of the building include 40% reduction in energy required to run air-conditioning through usage of advanced chillers and personalised ventilation system and strategically places shading devices that reduces solar heat gain and improve quality of natural lighting with the building. It is a pilot project that serves as a test-bedding centre for Green Building Technologies. As BCA oversees Singapore’s Green Mark buildings rating system, they wanted the project to reflect best sustainable building practices. Five years later, net zero energy targets have been attained and occupants are reaping the benefits of increased thermal comfort (Wittkopf, 2015).

Right at the heart of NUS, we welcome our nation’s first Zero-Energy building built from scratch in 2019 – School of Design and Environment 4. The building house more than 1200 photovoltaic solar panels that is involved in generating 500 megawatts of energy a year, slightly more than the expected usage of the building. This will allow the building to potentially save up to $180000 in electricity cost. Along with its unique architecture design, this made SDE4 a sustainable building design, an important attribute of green buildings. NUS is also committed to reducing energy demand by 40-60% as buildings accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emission worldwide (Toh, 2019). Key features of the building include an innovative hybrid cooling system to supply rooms with cooler air during times of higher temperature and humidity as compared to conventional cooling system while ensuring that rooms would not be too cold. Ceiling fans speed are also adjusted to decrease usage of air-conditioning which accounts for up to 60% of a tropical country building’s total energy usage. Such energy saving and resources conservation certainly meets the basic principles of green buildings.

In fact, SDE4 was an idea birthed 10 years ago but was rejected then due to overall cost required. Therefore, it is extremely heartening to be living in this generation where the community is committed to see beyond initial financial burden to do their part for the environment. Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development has also set a target to achieve 80% Green Mark Certification for all buildings by 2030. With SDE4 and BCA Academy setting stones for Zero-Energy buildings in Singapore, I believe we will be able to look forward to more of such project in our island home.


Deng, S., Wang, R. Z., & Dai, Y. J. (2014). How to evaluate performance of net zero energy building – A literature research. In Energy (Vol. 71, pp. 1–16). Elsevier Ltd.

Toh, M. (2019, April 2). Zero energy building opens in Singapore – CNN. CNN Business.

Wall, M. (2017). Towards zero-energy buildings and neighbourhoods – A combination of energy-efficiency and local renewable energy production. Indoor and Built Environment, 26(10), 1313–1318.

Wittkopf, S. (2015). Zero Energy Building @ BCA Academy: Singapore.


Plants in glass domes and the “Garden City” dream

The latest Singaporean icon is a futuristic glass doughnut known as Changi Jewel. Over the weekend, I’ve seen dozens of photos of the famous Rain Vortex and Canopy Park. It looked absolutely stunning to me – so stunning in fact, that literally half a million people signed up for the preview to see it last week (Kiasuism, maybe).

According to lead architect Moshe Safdie, Jewel echoes Singapore’s reputation as “The City in a Garden”.[i] Indeed, Singaporeans seemed to have developed a fondness for plants in glass domes. Around the same time of Jewel’s opening, Gardens By the Bay (GBTB) opened a new attraction: Floral Fantasy. This is in addition to the two existing conservatories, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome.

The similarities between Jewel and the GBTB attractions are obvious. The exterior glass structure aside, these buildings feature vibrant, exotic blooms imported from all over the world. The air conditioners are always turned on high, and the walking paths are kept free of dirt and soil so visitors can enjoy the best of what nature has to offer while dressed in heels and dress shirts for the perfect photo opportunity.

It appears these structures offer an “enhanced” version of nature, in comparison to our muddy, muggy and mozzie-ridden reserves. Though I think these glass structures are beautiful and exciting developments, I’m afraid that Singaporeans may one day ditch what’s left our naturalistic green spaces in favour of more manicured greenery – referring to the study[ii] we covered in class, survey respondents preferred for more land to be allocated to managed landscapes in the future.

The key difference between wild spaces and managed greens is that the former keeps us alive, while the latter relies on us to stay alive. Air-conditioned greenhouses can’t offer us ecosystem services like watershed protection or refugia for wildlife (I struggled to find even a single ant in the GBTB conservatories). Instead of sequestering carbon, they probably are probably huge emitters, given the amount of energy it takes to keep the building cool.

As such, I think it is crucial that we don’t neglect our outdoor green spaces as well. Getting dirty can be fun too, and the chances of spotting different species of animals add an element of surprise to each visit. Not to mention, the health benefits of a good workout and taking a break from the ‘gram cannot be extolled enough.

A question to ponder: How does the glorification of manicured green spaces, as part of efforts to promote Singapore as a “City in a Garden”, affect how we think about nature and our will to protect it?


[i] Kaur, K. (2019, April 11). Jewel Changi Airport ready for its coming-out party and plans to wow 500,000 visitors over next six days. The Straits Times. Retrieved from

[ii] Khew, J. Y. T., Yokohari, M., & Tanaka, T. (2014). Public perceptions of nature and landscape preference in Singapore. Human Ecology42(6), 979-988.

Is Singapore becoming an eco-city?

Recently, I attended a guided tour by URA at the Draft Master Plan 2019 exhibition. This tour was organised to engage representatives from different nature groups to get feedback on the Master Plan. The Master Plan is a land use plan that demarcates zones for different functions and is reviewed every five years to meet Singapore’s changing development needs. This year, the Master Plan has five focus areas, two of which interest me: (i) Liveable and inclusive communities, and (ii) Sustainable and resilient city of the future.

A first glance at the draft master plan raised a critical issue: Why are there still designated “Reserve Sites” at Chek Jawa and Mandai mudflats, making them vulnerable to future development?

You may have heard about the struggles against possible reclamation project at Chek Jawa in 2002. Since 1992, the eastern tip of Chek Jawa is designated for reclamation. In early 2001, National Parks Board and Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research documented the biodiversity of Chek Jawa before reclamation works start.  In May 2001, URA held a public forum, and views on preserving Chek Jawa as an important biodiversity site housing rare and unique flora and fauna took the media and public by storm. And yet, URA remained adamant that the planned reclamation of Chek Jawa would proceed. This then sparked public campaigns and guided tours to raise awareness and urge the government to review the reclamation plans. After an arduous struggle, in January 2002, the reclamation of Chek Jawa was put on hold. Still, as long as Chek Jawa is not designated as a protected area, it remains vulnerable.

And so are Mandai mudflats. When the Mandai mudflats was recognised as an important stopover habitat for migratory shorebirds and to be conserved as a nature park, the nature community cheered.  But its fate in the future is uncertain.

Figure 1. Top: URA Draft Master Plan 2019 designating Mandai mudflats as a “Reserve Site” (yellow). Bottom: National Parks Board designating Mandai mudflats as a nature park.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Singapore is actively trying to create an eco-city, while still meeting the needs of the nation. To foster greater appreciation for nature, the Master Plan designated more areas for greening, and playgrounds will be designed with a biophilic element. One of the strategies that caught my attention was the “Greater Rustic Coast”: a 50 km continuous belt, taking you through not just Singapore’s biodiversity, but also our cultural and heritage sites. Another aspect worth applauding is the plan to naturalise our waterways. Riding on the success of Bishan-AMK park, URA plans to have more of such naturalised waterways along Kallang River, such as the Bishan-Braddell ABC Waters.

There are, of course, still controversies over issues such as the development of Tengah Town, which will destroy almost 90% of the Tengah Forest, threaten many forest-dependent species and disrupt connectivity between the Western and Central catchment areas. One of the key features is the 100 m wide, 5 km long Forest corridor in a bid to facilitate connectivity. But is this elongated and narrow stretch of forested area enough to protect wildlife?

In our last lecture, we asked: what makes an eco-city? And where does Singapore lie in terms of “Ecoscape integrity” and “Ecological awareness”? Singapore has come a long way, and it is a challenge to balance the needs of a growing and aging population, and the duty to preserve biodiversity. How can we be urbanised and maximise the utility of the limited green spaces? Perhaps we could densify urban areas more, leaving more land for green spaces. Or we could plant more food and nesting trees, to promote diversity of urban adapters. Or we could possibly re-direct certain roads to create more connected areas.

Figure 2. Redirecting Mandai Road northwards (red line), to improve connectivity of the patches adjacent to Upper Seletar reservoir

It is no easy task to balance urbanisation and conservation. As such, I encourage everyone to drop by the Draft Master Plan 2019 exhibition at URA Centre, which is on until 24th May. Do provide feedback as well, and let’s play our part in making Singapore an eco-city!


National Library Board, Singapore (2014). Chek Jawa. Retrieved from:

National Parks Board (2018). Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat will be conserved as a Nature Park. Retrieved from:

Nature Society Singapore (2018). Nature Society Singapore (NSS)’s Position on HDB’s Tengah Forest Plan. Retrieved from:

Urban Redevelopment Authority (2019). Draft Master Plan 2019. Retrieved from:

Urbility: Campaign to increase demand of local produce

By 2030, Singapore aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs. The current level is at 10%. There is a need to encourage people to support local produce. Therefore, our group came up with a campaign to try to tackle this issue.

The campaign includes a poster and coupon system, where people will get a discount when they support local produce.

This video would also be part of the campaign and aims to educate the public on the benefits of supporting local produce, and the varieties of local produce. It will be spread by messaging applications such as WhatsApp and social media platforms such as Facebook.

It would also be ideal to work with Singapore Food Agency so that the campaign can be implemented on a bigger scale and reach a wider audience.

Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore & Singapore Food Agency. (2019). Formation of the Singapore Food Agency. Retrieved from—formation-of-the-singapore-food-agency.pdf

Urban Decay

(Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with the make-up brand you see on the shelves of Sephora.)

We have been talking about urbanisation and its impacts on biodiversity the entire semester, but there is one area of urbanisation that we didn’t get the opportunity to talk about – urban decay.

What is Urban Decay?
Urban decay is when parts of a city are neglected and become so run-down it is undesirable to live in. Such areas may bring economic and social problems to the country. While urban decay is not a common phenomenon, it can happen when a city grows and develops too fast without proper urban planning. Images of derelict buildings, poor housing and sanitation come to mind when we think about a decaying area. In the case of Bangkok, Thailand, excessive urban sprawl with degrading quality of life were indicators of potential deterioration in parts of its city.

Predicted Impacts on Urban Biodiversity
What does urban decay mean for biodiversity then? While there has been little literature that covers the impacts of urban decay/ decline on flora and fauna species, I would like to make several predictions on this matter:

  1. Urban exploiters may persist, but not for long.
    Species that adapt well to the urban environment/ find urban habitats similar to their natural habitat (e.g. buildings akin to cliffs and mountains), may still be able to survive in the resource-limited, far-from-pristine habitat conditions on its decline. However, if abandoned areas of a city are left to decay without renewal efforts, its resources (food, water) are bound to run out and even urban exploiters will have to seek alternatives or face decimation. Poor sanitation in these areas may also result in polluted waters and even the most resilient arthropods may face disease and even epidemic.
  2. Species that persist may evolve alien features.
    If conditions are so bad that phenotypic plasticity (variation in appearance or function across environmental conditions) gives a species an advantage in the survival of the fittest, some exploiters may develop alien features to better exploit the environment. Corals in extreme pHs and under wave-induced stress have been shown to have differing/ extreme phenotypes (appearances/ functions), this might be a possible outcome for urban fauna if left in an urban derelict for extended periods of time (years).

Urban Renewal
Many countries have attempted to revive their decayed urban areas. In Bangkok, Calagary and Taipei, efforts had been put in to renew some of the areas in the cities that were on the decline. While it is unclear how countries decide on the decayed areas they choose to renew, it is safe to assume that the potential economic, social, and ecological value these decayed areas may have if renewed is key in the decision-making process.

The case of urban decay shows the importance of careful urban planning with the aim of building a sustainable city. Haphazard urban development may cause native species to die out, and may just cost the nation more to renew.

Chan, E. & Lee, G.K.L. (2008). Critical factors for improving social sustainability of urban renewal projects. Soc Indic Res, 85, 243-256.

Chang CO., Peng CW. (2018) Urban Renewal and Affordable Housing in Taiwan. In: Altmann E., Gabriel M. (eds) Multi-Owned Property in the Asia-Pacific Region. Palgrave Macmillan, London

Fulton, C. J., Binning, S. A., Wainwright, P. C., & Bellwood, D. R. (2013). Wave-induced abiotic stress shapes phenotypic diversity in a coral reef fish across a geographical cline. Coral reefs32(3), 685-689.

Kulsrisombat N. (2008). De Facto Urban Regeneration: A Case Study of Chiang Mai City, Thailand. In: Kidokoro T., Harata N., Subanu L.P., Jessen J., Motte A., Seltzer E.P. (eds) Sustainable City Regions:. cSUR-UT Series: Library for Sustainable Urban Regeneration, Vol 7. Springer, Tokyo

Putnam, H. M., Davidson, J. M., & Gates, R. D. (2016). Ocean acidification influences host DNA methylation and phenotypic plasticity in environmentally susceptible corals. Evolutionary Applications9(9), 1165-1178.

Tallon, A. (2013). Urban Regeneration in the UK. Routledge.

Using cities as conservation zones

Recently, Forbes published an article about the conservation of endangered parrots in urbanized areas. The post talks about the presence of more than 13 species of parrots in San Diego county, most of which are native to countries in Central or South America and thriving in the city. It got me thinking whether Singapore can make use of a similar method to preserve and protect our local wildlife.


Often, we hear that large patches of pristine habitats are required for successful conservation and protection of wildlife. Yet, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve seems to prove that idea wrong. Singapore lost more than 90% of her forest cover in the 1800s due to agriculture and plantations (O’Dempsey et al., 2014), but has largely recovered amidst urbanization and development plans due to the immense restoration efforts by the government. The recovery of small forest patches allowed for the displaced fauna to return and bounce back.


Some examples of fauna that have recovered since then are the Oriental pied hornbill and smooth-coated otters. Now, hornbills and otters are frequently sighted in some of Singapore’s parks and gardens. These animals appear to have adapted to the urban environment, especially so for the Oriental pied hornbill where it is able to live and reproduce in urban habitats if there is sufficient food in the area (Chong, 1998). Another species that has done well in urban environments is the Javan myna. Since its introduction to Singapore in the 1920, the bird has spread considerably and its population was recently predicted to be more than 100,000 individuals (Lin, 2016). These urban species are able to make use of anthropogenic settlements and landscapes to find food, enabling them to survive outside of their native habitats.


Perhaps non-parrot species can also be intentionally released into the concrete jungle as a means of conservation. Since the smooth-coated otters and oriental pied hornbills have rather successfully integrated into man-made environments, it is possible that other species might also be able to find suitable niches and habitats to occupy. Globally threatened animals like the straw-headed bulbul can be considered for urban conservation. Although the preferred habitat of the straw-headed bulbul is in forest edges, urban environments with plenty of green spaces to provide sufficient food and nesting sites might provide the bulbuls an alternative habitat. The omnivorous diet of these bulbuls might be advantageous in helping them make use of the resources in urban settings.


This idea might not be suitable for strictly forest dwelling species but for animals that are able to live in a variety of habitats, conservation in cities might be a possible alternative as long as appropriate regulations are put in place (to prevent poaching in the city). Cities only continue to grow as the urban population grows—and this is estimated to grow by about 2.5 billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2018); why not provide suitable habitats for endangered species within the city to aid in conservation efforts?



Chong, M. H. N., (1998). A survey of hornbills in rain forest habitats of Peninsular Malaysia. In: Poonswad, P. (ed.), The Asian Hornbills: Ecology and Conservation. Thai Studies in Biodiversity, 2: 1–336. pp. 13–22.

Lin, Y. (2016, 22 Apr). The Javan mynah: Today’s pest, tomorrow’s food? The Straits Times. Accessed 15 April 2019. Available from

O’Dempsey, T., Emmanuel, M., van Whye, J., Taylor, N. P., Tan, F. L. P., Chou, C., Yi, G. H. and Heng, C., (2014). Singapore’s changing landscape since c. 1800. In: Barnard, T. (ed.), Nature Contained: Environmental Histories of Singapore. NUS Press, pp. 17–48.

United Nations (2018). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision. United Nations Population Division. Accessed 15 April 2019. Available from

Veggie-Table: Your one-stop site to urban farming in HDBs

Urban farming is the growing of food in and around cities. This includes, but is not limited to, small-scale urban agriculture, growing produce in residential areas, rooftop gardens, schools, and restaurant gardens (Source). In a land-scarce and fast-paced country like Singapore, why would anyone bother doing something “extra” like urban farming? Well, urban farming has many benefits for food security, the environment and our health!

That’s why we wanted to encourage Singaporeans to take up urban farming as a part of their lifestyle. From the perception survey we conducted, we realised that many people are interested in and open to the idea, but most don’t know how to get started. So, to help implement urban farming in HDB households, we created Veggie-table – a one-stop site to educate new urban farmers and help them integrate into the local urban farming community. If you’re still on the fence, check out our website to find out more about the benefits of urban farming!

We’ve got tips on what tools you need, what soil or fertilisers to use and what to grow! We cater to everyone: Want to grow greens but don’t have the time? Try “Something Easy”, such as basil or microgreens. Want to be in charge of what goes into dinner tonight? Try “Something Leafy”, such as Kai Lan or Kang Kong. Have more time and want to add some colour to your life? Try “Something Interesting”, such as mandarin oranges or blue pea flower.

We will also teach you where you can grow in limited space and limited light! While our tips mainly cater to people in HDBs, you can easily apply them to your balconies or private gardens!

We also came up with the concept of “Farmer’s Wallet”, which gives everyone $100 to spend in our Farm Store. The “Urban Farmer Card”, an exclusive membership card for interested and passionate budding urban farmers, offers great discounts at partner stores and supermarkets. Lastly, our Farmer’s Market is an online forum where urban farmers can share tips and foster a close-knit urban farming community.

Excited to find out more? Head on over to our website. We look forward to you joining the farming community! (:

P.S. ‘Farmers’ Wallet’, ‘Urban Farmer Card’, and ‘The Farmer Store’ are concepts made solely for this project and will not actually be in effect. But we still have curated tips on urban farming and a collection of helpful and inspirational tutorial videos, so do check out our website!