National Parks Board
Ecological Placemaking, Wildlife Infrastructure Design
Bukit Timah Rochor Green Corridor
The Bukit Timah – Rocher Green Corridor project aimed to extend and connect the existing Rail Corridor to Kallang Riverside Basin. An elevated bridge spanning 1.9km was envisioned in Phase 1 to act as a linear park offering visitors the unique experience of walking or cycling through a lush riverine forest along the Bukit Timah Canal.
On top of optimizing the human experience, WOHA envisioned creating connections between major habitat fragments along the canal to encourage wildlife movement alongside humans through the landscape. Coupling design with ecology, this project gave rise to novel wildlife-friendly infrastructure distinct to the context of the site.
The creation of this seamless connection required a good understanding of the ecology of the site and its condition and how best infrastructure could be used to facilitate both human and wildlife movement without conflict.
Collaboration was necessary to further align the overall vision with NParks’ ‘Singapore National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan’ to counter habitat fragmentation, by conserving and enhancing biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels.
Ecological considerations for infrastructure design. Adapted by bioSEA, base visual by Ramboll x WOHA
In a bid to create ecological stepping stones, our key strategies took reference from well-established landscape ecology principles that guided how best to shape existing habitats, maintain or expand their extent and enrich their quality with injections of native vegetation. Target animal species of importance and their critical movement pathways were identified to create tailored environments across the span of the bridge that would better facilitate mobility through the landscape.
We provided guidance in the design of wildlife infrastructure that could aid wildlife crossings at ecological nodes 1, 1a, 1b, 2, 2a, 2b and 3 as seen in the figure below.
To minimize the edge effect, dense planting was recommended at ecological nodes and within the immediate 100m vicinity. Working with the Landscape team, a planting palate consisting of native species of value was created and used in designing a multi-tiered green corridor mimicking the ground, understory, mid-story, canopy and emergent layers of a rainforest. Strategic integration and placement of nectar and host plants as well as fruit bearing trees at different nodes also curated passageways for butterflies, birds and mammals.
Finally, we synthesized ecological design considerations for WOHA to incorporate into the preliminary design of the bridge structure. This included improving traditional infrastructure to incorporate wildlife-friendly components along the length of the bridge:
- Biopillars – textured pillars to increase gripping surface for animals
- Biopillar mesh attachment – substrate for vegetation to grow over and doubles up as a noise barrier
- Animal Totems – supplemental habitats in urban spaces
- Animal Truss system – textured trusses creating a wildlife highway separate from the human pathway to mitigate human-wildlife conflict
Beyond this project, the Animal Totems were further expanded upon and several typologies were formulated to better suit the housing needs of various native species. To read more about the Eco-active Totems project and its development visit here.
Cover Image: Visual by WOHA
Wildlife crossing to improve connectivity for animals accessing the elevated wildlife connector. Visual by bioSEA.