Enhancing urban environments with a focus on health and wellness, in conjunction with the launch of a new publication to promote health and well-being in city planning

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 15 September 2023 The National Parks Board (NParks) and KPMG in Singapore (KPMG) announced the completion of the multigenerational KPMG Wellness Garden. Co-locating 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 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.

For more information about therapeutic gardens in parks and research on therapeutic effects on greenery, refer to Factsheet C and the backgrounder sheet respectively.

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 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 to 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


KPMG’s FAQs on The KPMG Wellness Garden – A Manifestation of the World Economic Forum’s Urban Transformation Framework

Please attribute replies taken from these FAQs to:

Mr Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore
KPMG, a global leader in professional services has collaborated with NParks to create the KPMG Wellness Garden. This initiative is part of KPMG’s ‘Our Impact Plan’, reflecting the firm’s commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles.

The Wellness Garden, situated at East Coast Park, is designed as an inclusive oasis that stands as a symbol of health, inclusivity, and environmental protection. Utilising its wealth of education and industry insights, KPMG has transformed complex ESG concepts into tangible actions. The KPMG Wellness Garden is a practical example of sustainable urban planning, and an example of how organisations enhance the health and well-being of the community.

1. How does the KPMG Wellness Garden embody the principles of the World Economic Forum’s urban transformation framework?

The KPMG Wellness Garden is a sterling example of the principles articulated in the World Economic Forum’s framework for the future of real estate, demonstrating the potential for creating inclusive, sustainable, health-promoting urban spaces. This strategic initiative by KPMG, a leader in providing insights that shape discourse and guide development in urban planning and transformation, is a proactive response to the pressing need for such spaces amidst rapid urbanisation.

2. What role does the KPMG Wellness Garden play in promoting equitable access to health-promoting spaces?

The KPMG Wellness Garden is meticulously designed to be a universally accessible, health- promoting space that embodies KPMG’s commitment to equity and inclusivity. It ensures that diverse demographic groups, irrespective of age or physical ability, can equally utilise this space, thereby democratising access to health-promoting environments.

To further augment accessibility and inclusivity, KPMG will forge collaborations with community organisations. This strategic alliance will allow the benefits of the garden to permeate into a broader societal spectrum, reaching individuals who may otherwise lack access to such wellness-focused amenities.

Moreover, the garden’s design and operations are guided by the principles of Universal Design, underscoring KPMG’s commitment to creating spaces that are inherently accessible and usable by all. From the selection of plant species to the design of pathways and facilities, every element of the garden is thoughtfully curated to cater to a wide range of abilities and preferences.

In essence, the KPMG Wellness Garden signifies a profound commitment to enhancing public health equity by providing an inclusive, accessible space that promotes health and wellness for all. It is testament to KPMG’s leadership in influencing discourse and steering development towards more inclusive urban planning and transformation.

3. How does the KPMG Wellness Garden align with contemporary health and wellness trends?

The KPMG Wellness Garden aligns with current health and wellness trends, particularly those emphasising holistic well-being. This innovative space offers a sanctuary for visitors to engage in activities that promote physical, mental, and social health, embodying the broader trend towards comprehensive wellness.

Beyond being a response to contemporary health and wellness trends, the KPMG Wellness Garden proactively sets a new standard for urban wellness spaces. As part of KPMG’s commitment to education in health and wellness, the garden serves as a living classroom, offering lessons on sustainability, nature, and well-being.

4. What role does community engagement play in the KPMG Wellness Garden, and why is it significant in urban transformation for health and wellness?

Community engagement is at the heart of the KPMG Wellness Garden’s design and function. This active engagement nurtures healthier, more resilient environments.

KPMG will fund therapeutic horticultural programmes at the Wellness Garden over the next five years, starting from 2024. This commitment enhances the tangible offerings of the space and ensures the provision of beneficial nature-based experiences for the community. It also underscores KPMG’s unwavering commitment to fostering well-being and sustainability within the community.

Beyond the garden, KPMG staff volunteered nearly 1,800 hours in FY22 for various causes, demonstrating the firm’s dedication to community welfare.

5. How does the KPMG Wellness Garden contribute to economic factors impacting urban transformation and promote sustainable growth?

The KPMG Wellness Garden stands as a landmark in sustainable urban development, serving as a model for how businesses can construct health-promoting urban spaces that drive both economic enhancement and environmental conservation.

KPMG’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by our significant global investment exceeding US$1.5 billion in ESG initiatives. As part of this commitment, the Wellness Garden is a strategic investment that also demonstrates how organisations can integrate ESG principles into their business strategies. This integration not only enriches community well- being but also propels sustainable urban progression.

The Wellness Garden also has the potential to attract more visitors to the park and support local businesses in the area. The garden plays an instrumental role in urban transformation by improving public health, promoting environmental sustainability and fostering economic growth.

In conclusion, the KPMG Wellness Garden underscores the influential role businesses can play in facilitating urban transformation. By investing in health-promoting, sustainable spaces, we can augment community well-being and contribute to sustainable economic development.

Hashtag: #KPMGWellnessGarden

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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.

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About KPMG

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.

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