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A New Vision For Singapore’s City Centre And Waterfront

During the recent parliamentary debate on his ministry’s budget, Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, said that Singapore will be rejuvenating its city centre though moves to encourage more mixed-used developments in the Central Business District (CBD) so that “there will be activities beyond office hours”, and that there will be a review of a scheme that has allowed eligible commercial buildings to maximise their use through bonus plot ratios.

Mr Wong noted that the Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar/ Maxwell and Robinson/Shenton areas are dominated by older office buildings, unlike the Marina Bay CBD extension which was planned as a mixed-use district. He added that most eligible buildings have already made use of the scheme.

He also noted plans to revamp Orchard Road to make it one of the great streets of the world, such as by having different precincts with more diverse offerings.

The Minister also highlighted plans for three major gateways in the east, west and north of the island. These key developments will help create more jobs and increase opportunities for Singaporeans to work closer to their homes.

In the longer term, there are two major sites for future development – Paya Lebar and the Greater Southern Waterfront. 

Work on the Paya Lebar site will start after 2030. The relocation of the Paya Lebar Airbase will free up 800 ha of land and also remove current height restrictions in the area. It is a new area bigger than the size of Ang Mo Kio town for both public and private housing.

Work on the Greater Southern Waterfront will start sooner, in the next five to 10 years. This mega project over 2,000ha of prime waterfront land - six times Marina Bay's size - will span more than 20 years. The movement of ports will free up 1,000ha of land, while non-port areas like the Pasir Panjang Power District, Keppel Club and Sentosa will contribute another 1,000ha. The Government will enhance green spaces in Mount Faber and develop Pasir Panjang Linear Park. In the area where Keppel Club is today, new housing and residential options will be developed after the land is returned back to the Government. 

Mr Wong added that, over time, the Government’s plan is to redevelop and “stitch” together the entire waterfront from Pasir Panjang to Marina East, making it an exciting new waterfront development with both green and blue spaces for all to enjoy. 

The Government also recognises the “existential threat” of climate change, and have carefully studied the risks and impact of sea level rise, as well as detailed measures on how to protect Singapore's coastal areas. Such measures being studied include reclamation, sea walls or pumping stations.

Today, Singapore has more than 4,000ha of gardens and parks, and another 3,300 ha of nature reserves, all linked together with park connectors. Singapore will continue to maintain and enhance its greenery by expanding green spaces and the network of park connectors

Singapore is also embracing green in the broader sense, not just in biodiversity and greenery but also advanced clean-tech solutions – be it solar panels, electric buses, autonomous shuttles, zero-energy buildings or district cooling systems.

According to Mr Wong, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will launch the draft Master Plan 2019 exhibition in late March for public feedback. The plan, reviewed every five years, guides development over a 10-to 15-year time frame.