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New frontier for green townships

Draft Master Plan 2013 focuses on more housing options and green spaces, quality jobs near homes
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 06:00

[SINGAPORE] The blueprint governing Singapore's development over the medium term identifies Holland Village, Kampong Bugis and Marina South as districts that will provide 14,500 new homes set amid thoughtfully designed, eco-friendly spaces.

People will go to work, not just in the Central Business District, but also in new commercial areas such as the Woodlands Regional Centre, where 100,000 jobs will eventually be created.

A new retail belt will come up at Marina Bay.

These plans have been laid out in the Draft Master Plan 2013 of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which focuses on building townships for all ages that are green, healthy, connected and strong in community interaction and spirit.

Six focal points underpin the plans:

  • putting quality jobs closer to home;
  • providing more housing options with good living environments;
  • expanding green and play spaces;
  • enhancing transport links and accessibility;
  • strengthening Singapore's identity; and
  • enlivening public spaces.

No major adjustments to plot ratios are expected, save for areas identified for development, such as Bidadari and Punggol.

In the area of decentralising work spaces, the URA will continue to grow regional centres such as Jurong Lake District, Tampines Regional Centre, Paya Lebar Central and one-north.

The Woodlands Regional Centre, part of the North Coast Innovation Corridor, is to be the key commercial cluster in the north, the development of which will be kickstarted by the sale of a commercial site near Woodlands MRT station next month. This regional centre, to house northern Singapore's first business park cluster, could put 100,000 jobs on the market when it is fully developed in the next decade or so.

Industrial parks such as Seletar Aerospace Park, Defu Industrial Estate and Lorong Halus Industrial Park will continue to be developed; existing industrial estates such as Tanjong Kling and Tukang Innovation Park, Tuas Biomedical Hub and Sungei Kadut will be rejuvenated by JTC Corporation to raise land productivity and keep businesses there competitive.

But even as decentralisation plans are made, the city centre will continue to grow. New offices, retail space and homes, as well as redevelopment and sales sites near Tanjong Pagar MRT station are in the pipeline.

The URA envisages a new shopping and entertainment belt along Bayfront Avenue, which will stretch from Marina Bay Sands to Marina Bay Station Square, which will create more jobs.

As for housing, the land set aside in Holland Village, Kampong Bugis and Marina South makes up part of the land set aside in this Draft Master Plan for half a million homes. Most of the land will be for public housing.

Holland Village will be extended by six hectares, anchored by a mixed development project that will have a parking station. Two other residential sites have been earmarked in that precinct, along with pedestrian-friendly streets and a community park.

The 18-ha Kampong Bugis site is slated to become a high-density residential precinct offering around 4,000 private homes.

The 21.5-ha Marina South area, just off Gardens by the Bay, is set to be turned into a mixed-use residential district offering around 9,000 private homes. Being explored is the idea of having an 800-metre-long underground mall and an elevated walkway from Bay South Gardens to the seafront. Development is expected after 2017 or 2018.

Kampong Bugis and Marina South will be testbeds for fenceless residential communities and more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly designs.

With creating green spaces a key thrust in this Draft Master Plan, one goal is to have 90 per cent of residents living within 400 metres of a park. Plans are in the works to create more than 60 km of nature trails, 360 km of park connectors and a 150 km Round-Island Route; 900 ha of reservoirs and 100 km of waterways are to be opened up for recreation.

On the heels of the recently announced plans to boost public transport under the Land Transport Master Plan 2013, the URA will promote cycling-friendly environments with other agencies. All HDB towns will have their own cycling networks, and cycle paths will grow from 230 km to more than 700 km.

In the area of enhancing the Singapore identity, the URA will preserve various landmarks; it plans to gazette more than 70 buildings for conservation, adding to the list of more than 7,100 buildings. The latest additions include the Queenstown Library, Alexandra Hospital and the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market.

Neighbourhoods such as Holland Village, Serangoon Gardens and Jalan Kayu will join 15 other locations with distinct character, so that their vibe and unique qualities will be preserved and even enhanced.

As for plans for Singapore further into the future, the URA envisages a Greater Southern Waterfront, where about 1,000 ha of land - freed up by moving out the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal from 2027 - will be developed. Plans for this area have not been finalised, but six concepts have been mooted. Among them are a plan to extend the city to this Southern Waterfront, creating a continuous seaside promenade linking places of interest and creating waterfront districts, each with its own character.

The public are invited to give their feedback on the Draft Master Plan 2013, as well as for the new cycling routes and plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront. Views can be submitted at the Draft Master Plan 2013 website. The URA is holding a month-long exhibition at the URA Centre from today.