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Built on 101 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, the Gardens by the Bay is a multimillion-dollar project designed to show off Singapore’s prowess in green technology and commitment to innovation, as the island-nation seeks to enter its next phase of economic prowess by, among other things, aggressively investing in research and development.

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Singapore’s iconic Merlion statue features prominently on the original waterfront of Singapore. The mythical creature, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is used widely to promote the island state. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name “Singapura,” meaning lion city in Sanskrit, while its fish body represents its origins as a fishing village.

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Damian Chan, international director for Americas at Singapore’s Economic Development Board, says the island-state’s focus has shifted over the years from lower-tech manufacturing to higher-tech, such as semiconductors and electronics, and now to more innovation and knowledge-based industries, including biomedical sciences and clean technology.

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A new addition to the skyline are the giant “supertrees” of the Gardens by the Bay, a park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore. The multimillion-dollar project was designed to show off Singapore’s prowess in green technology and commitment to innovation. It features a collection of 18 man-made “supertrees” that are up to 50 metres tall, parkland and two climate-controlled conservatories housing rare plant species from across the globe.

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The Gardens join Marina Bay Sands resort, which houses Singapore's waterfront casino, as well as other attractions, such as Sentosa Island resort, to feed Singapore’s reputation as the Monaco of Southeast Asia.

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The “supertrees,” tree-like structures with heights that range between 25 and 50 metres, are vertical gardens that emulate functions of real trees, including harnessing solar energy with photovoltaic cells and collecting rain water for the plants that grow along the structures.

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At night the supertrees provide a light display.

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A white painted bronze sculpture titled Planet by sculptor Marc Quinn, depicts a sleeping infant boy apparently floating on the turf in the Gardens by the Bay. While reviewed as “infantalizing art” by The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones, the sculpture enjoyed international acclaim.

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The Cloud Forest, or Cool-Moist Conservatory, houses a 35-metre tall indoor mountain complete with waterfall, planted with species native to cloud forests around the world. The interior is cooled by solar power and bio-fuel from tree waste.

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Visitors to the cloud forest conservatory can tour the dome on elevated walkways.

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The elevated walkways in the cloud forest conservatory give views of the vegetation that ranges from tropical highlands to up to 2,000 metres above sea level.

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The Flower Dome, or Cool-Dry Conservatory, emulates temperate climatic conditions and houses flora from all over the world. Air is cooled at the lower level through chilled water pipes in the ground, while warm air is vented out the top.

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Among its collection, the Flower Dome houses 1,000-year-old olive trees from Spain.

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Dr. Kiat W. Tan, chief executive officer of Gardens by the Bay, hand-selected many of the trees and plants in the Flower Dome and the Cloud Walk Dome.

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