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Opening Message: Audrey Xu

At the beginning of the year the world could not have been more different. It was connected, welcoming and optimistic. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and all was changed. As we adjust to the new normal with the Circuit Breaker measures, we adapt and develop new routines in our work and lives.

However bleak the situation may seem, not all is lost. Professionally, designers have stepped up to provide innovations to embrace social distancing while allowing meaningful interaction; research on spatial implications of addressing and mitigating Covid-19; and discourse on post Covid-19 opportunities in building more equitable green spaces and cities.

It is often during a crisis that we are forced to confront with priorities which in turn provides new perspectives and insights. In this case, when we are confined to the restriction of our immediate surroundings, parks and public spaces are no longer perceived as superfluous but essential for the physical and mental well-being of residents.

Neighbourhood parks which are normally quiet spots for respite have suddenly bustle to life with people jogging, exercising and having a breath of fresh air.

This heightened attention bestowed to the everyday common space also includes the ubiquitous green verges and fields left to grow wild. People were pleasantly surprised by the beauty and liveliness of these less-manicured vegetation. Many took to social media platform and newspaper forum to express their excitement and call for less frequent maintenance and grass-cutting in the future.

This is indeed a trying time for the landscape architecture profession with dwindling commissions and slow project progress. The crisis has nonetheless demonstrated the importance of the profession in creating essential urban asset and green infrastructure. Therefore, we should continue our efforts in creating innovative, sustainable and equitable green spaces for all.

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Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (SILA)