There has been much hype and speculation over the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) new Master Plan even before the draft was released on 20 November 2013. Many investors and analysts were waiting in anticipation to see where the best investment opportunities are. Many others were just curious at how Singapore would look like in the future. So what does this new draft Master Plan cover?
The Master Plan is a follow up to the Concept Plan that maps out the land use strategies and transportation plan for Singapore for the next 40 to 50 years. The Master Plan translates these strategies into detailed plans for implementation for the next 10 to 15 years. Reviewed every five years, it shows the permissible land use and density for every parcel of land in Singapore. While the latest Concept Plan was released in 2011, the Land Use Plan 2013 was released more recently in January 2013.
The Draft Master Plan 2013 is underpinned by six focal points.
- Housing – Provide more housing options with higher quality living environments
- Economy – Bring quality jobs closer to homes and grow the financial and business hub in the city
- Transport – Enhance transport links and accessibility
- Recreation – Enhance green and play spaces
- Public spaces – Enliven public spaces
- Identity – Strengthen Singapore’s identity
Having good affordable homes tops the list of concerns for many Singaporeans. To address that, an additional 700,000 homes have been planned by 2030. This is sufficient to support the population growth for the next two decades. New development areas such as Bidadari, Tampines North, Marina South and Tengah will provide new housing choices. For those who prefer established areas, mature estates such as Dawson and Bedok will undergo rejuvenation. Existing towns such as Punggol and Holland Village will also be expanded.
Commercial space outside the city centre will continue to grow to 13 million square metres by then. The existing financial district, Marina Bay and the Central Business District (CBD), will be expanded by 30% from 6.5 million square metres of office space today.
With greater emphasis on decentralisation, jobs will be brought closer to many homes. In the past few years, attention was on developing the Jurong Gateway area. With the Jurong Gateway development well underway, the next focus for the government would be to nurture the North Coast Innovation Corridor, which encompasses Woodlands Regional Centre, the redeveloped Sembawang Shipyard, the future Seletar Regional Centre and the Punggol creative cluster. Of these, the Woodlands Regional Centre will likely be the key catalyst zone, which the government will focus on in the near term. About 350,000 square metres of office and retail spaces have been planned for Woodlands Central. The Woodlands Regional Centre will be expanded through the addition of a new business cluster at the Woodlands North Coast, which is within walking distance of the waterfront. The business cluster will be well connected to the upcoming Thomson MRT Line station and the cross-border rail link to Johor, benefiting from synergies with the Iskandar Malaysia development in Johor.
In the Punggol area, a new waterfront “creative cluster” and “learning corridor” will be developed. Besides the recently completed Punggol Promenade and Punggol Waterway that provide recreational facilities, the Creative Cluster will be developed to introduce new jobs in the area. A new tertiary institution is also planned, together with new educational institutions, to be located within the Learning Corridor.
By 2030, eight in 10 households will be living within a 10-minute walk from an MRT station. From now until 2030, there will be one MRT project completed almost every year. Not only will the rail network be doubled from the current 178 kilometres to approximately 360 kilometres by 2030, there will be a rapid transit link to Johor. With the addition of the North-South Expressway, the road network will also be expanded. To allow for seamless public transport travel, seven integrated transport hubs are in the pipeline to be completed in the next ten years. These seven (Joo Koon, Bukit Panjang, Bedok, Jurong East, Yishun, Marina South and Hougang) will complement the existing six (Boon Lay, Clementi, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Serangoon and Sengkang).
Recreation, Public Spaces and Identity
Green and play spaces will also be enhanced for recreation purposes. As the park connector network increases from the current 200 kilometres to 360 kilometres by 2030, 90 per cent of Singapore residents will find themselves within 400 metres of a park. More water bodies will be opened for recreational use. Instead of drains, canals and reservoirs, there will be more streams, rivers and lakes. More community spaces and integrated amenities such as hawker centres, town plazas and lifestyle hubs will be provided to foster bonding. To strengthen Singapore’s identity, conservation efforts will also not be neglected, as more than 70 buildings are to be conserved together with history and heritage forming parts of new town designs.
With Singapore’s limited land resources, the Draft Master Plan 2013 has helped identify pockets of land as well as new areas available for development. It also showed the Government’s continued focus to provide Singaporeans with a world-class work-live-play environment.
Article is contributed by Rachel Soh, Senior Executive of Market & Strategy Insight and Corporate Planning Unit, CapitaLand Limited