Singapore unveils plans for green city

Singapore wants more housing in its central business district (CBD) and plans to move its infrastructure below ground to free more space on the surface.

As part of the plan to reinvigorate central Singapore, a variety of homes and services in downtown, Marina South and Rochor are being planned so more Singaporeans can live near where they work but also be within walking distance of green space.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority said it wanted about 1,000 hectares more parks and green corridors in the hope that more than 90 per cent of homes would be within walking distance of a park at some point.

It would involve an expansion of almost 13 per cent in green space from the existing 7,800 hectares.

This was part of a “conscious and deliberate effort” to protect natural spaces and increase ecological resilience, development minister Lawrence Wong said.

“Our CBD is largely mono-use … dominated largely by office developments,” said Wong. “It is busy during the weekdays, but in the nighttime and weekends, we do not really see a lot of activity,” he said. It should be “a vibrant place to live and play”, Wong added in his speech on Wednesday (yesterday).

The plan says infrastructure, transport and storage should be moved underground to create land for residents to use.

“From time to time, we hear concerns that Singapore is developing too rapidly, that we are losing greenery and heritage spaces,” the minister said.

“We have to change and reinvent our city. But Singapore is also our home and we want it to be a home that’s beautiful and green with familiar spaces that we can connect and identify with.”

There are also new housing concepts so residents can shop, dine and conduct activities under one site. Improved transport connectivity at major hubs in the north, west and east was also part of the plan.

“Over the past decades, Singapore has transformed from mudflats to metropolis,” Wong said. “Now, we are planning ahead for our next phase of transformation.”

Wong plans more than 400km of park corridors in the next 15 years, up from around 300km.

Being launched on Saturday is the 36km coast-to-coast trail between Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast.

Also planned is a 24km Rail Corridor from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. About 1 million people will live within 1km of it, according to the authorities.

Tiny Singapore has preserved a remarkable amount of green space. Picture credit: Wikimedia