ASPECTS OF NATURE

RALPH STEINEGGER

2019 - 2020

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IMAGES AND TEXT BY RALPH STEINEGGER

Singapore has long profiled itself as a clean and green garden city. Extensive urban greening measures have ensured the beautification of this highly urbanized city-state, in addition to impressing and attracting visitors and investors with the city's orderly and resort-like atmosphere.

The building of flagship infrastructure such as Gardens by the Bay, with its two air-conditioned biodomes and several huge "supertrees", or the newly finished Jewel, a natural themed retail complex with the world's largest indoor waterfall, are part of Singapore's "City in a garden“ branding strategy and grab world wide attention. They partly explain Singapore's continued rise in the ranking of many urban liveability indexes.

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Officials in Singapore have probably best understood that the quest to build a "liveable city" or a "green city" is fast becoming a new urban fixation around the world. Meticulous attention is given to the smallest details, such as that even noise barriers, which inevitably surround large government funded infrastructure projects, are clad in panels with pixelated trees and skies.

At the same time, our connection to nature has become more tenuous than ever, even as environmental concerns have received increased media and popular attention in recent years. A highly constructed and sanitized version of nature, or „fake nature“ as some ecologists say, watered-down and biodiversity-poor, seems to drive green restoration initiatives in urban areas in parts of the world.

Nature is increasingly commodified, designed and managed not for ecological authenticity, but for aesthetic characteristics and serving social goals and human well-being. "Greenness" is seen as to make us happier, healthier, and to deliver us from modern day evils such as mental stress, depression, high blood pressure.

„Fake nature“,

a modern day cure-all?

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TEXT AND IMAGES BY RALPH STEINEGGER

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