Forum: Clearing forests for flats should be the last resort

I share the sentiments of many nature groups that are calling for the authorities to reconsider zoning Dover Forest (and Clementi Forest too) for residential use (Nature groups raise issues over Dover Forest's zoning, Jan 17).

Take, for example, the sprawling but overbuilt National University of Singapore (NUS) campus at Kent Ridge.

While it might be fashionable to build NUS to mirror that of universities in the West (like Cambridge), the reality is we have limited land and our weather is hot, humid and wet.

Thus, it is painful and pitiful to see much of the greenery, hills, valleys and natural landscape at Kent Ridge levelled for low-rise buildings.

Indeed, Kent Ridge could have accommodated three universities on the same grounds by building upwards and higher, with attendant benefits like lower infrastructure development costs, more integrated university learning and research environments (in line with a multidisciplinary approach with co-location of diverse talents), yet at the same time preserving much of the natural landscape.

We should be careful and stop flattening our hills and getting rid of our forests.

Therefore, let's build taller and higher-density flats of 36 storeys and above, and preserve the few remaining hectares of natural green spaces, in line with our vision of a City in Nature.

Clearing forested areas for flats must be the last resort.

Cheang Peng Wah

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