The Right Way to Harness Trees

Trees versus Billboards is a perennial debate – in Singapore, it is hands-down obvious that the trees have the most rights over almost anything including, as mentioned our previous article F1 Singapore: No Trees were Harmed


Firstly, I need to state that I am a resolute tree lover. And while I think it’s great that we have a lot of trees in Singapore, sometimes it is really a little too much. Especially since trees in Singapore are almost always monotone in green thanks to our tropical weather.


I believe in the “Trees versus Billboards debate” it is a simple matter of “Who’s-Here-First” and “What’s The Resolution” – ie. (1) May the tree be relocated with minimal damage while keeping the interests of all parties? (2) or maybe a good pruning will suffice. It is also obvious that no outdoor advertising firm would randomly develop a new site that is surrounded by many pre-existing trees…


Thus I was really upset to see this in Jakarta, Indonesia a couple of months back:




This is the absolute wrong way to harness the use of trees as the banner displays are tied with steel ropes around the palms As I understand the development of a unipole billboard is not allowed along this stretch of road but it is almost no reason. I feel painful for the trees…


On the other hand, during the Singapore Biennale 2006, artist, Yayoi Kusama “… instructed the covering of all trees in polkadot fabric, which stand on the stretch of Orchard Road from the corner of Orchard Link and Bideford Road up to the corner of Paterson and Scotts Road. Some of the trees are furthermore decorated with polkadot balls.” (taken from Universes in Universe – Worlds of Art)



Nice, impactful and also approved by NParks. Most importantly, “Trees versus Billboards”=perfect.



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