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Community spirit, green living at heart of URA plan for S’pore

SINGAPORE — Three new residential districts — two of which are piloting new urban-living concepts — along with a raft of proposals guiding the islandwide developments in the medium term have been unveiled today in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) draft Master Plan 2013.

Holland Village aerial view. Photo: URA

Holland Village aerial view. Photo: URA

SINGAPORE — Three new residential districts — two of which are piloting new urban-living concepts — along with a raft of proposals guiding the islandwide developments in the medium term have been unveiled today in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) draft Master Plan 2013.

Offering some 14,500 homes, Marina South, Kampong Bugis — which is near the Kallang River — and a new extension adjacent to Holland Village have been earmarked for private housing developments.

In particular, Marina South and Kampong Bugis will pilot schemes to reduce car usage and encourage residents to use “more green forms of commuting”, such as public transport, walking and cycling. The two precincts will also test environment-friendly concepts, such as exploring sustainable water-management practices in a high-density precinct and harnessing wind energy to cool the entire district.

The URA said the development of the three districts will be spread over the “next 10 to 15 years”.

While the three areas will consist of mostly private housing, the authority said that, under the draft Master Plan — which was embargoed till 3am today — it has “safeguarded enough land for 500,000 housing units, of which a large proportion will be for public housing”.

Apart from new towns such as Bidadari, Tampines North and Punggol Matilda, new public housing units will also be built in established housing estates such as Sembawang, Yishun, Hougang and Choa Chu Kang, providing more options for those who wish to live near their parents or residents who wish to relocate within familiar neighbourhoods.

The URA has also proposed 70 more buildings for conservation, including the former Queenstown Library and five blocks at Kampong Silat, the island’s second-oldest surviving public housing estate.

The URA Master Plan is a statutory land use plan, which guides Singapore’s development in the medium term by showing the permissible land use and density for every parcel of land here. Reviewed every five years, the plan also sketches out the authority’s vision to develop scarce land and meet residential, industry, transport and recreational needs. The pace of these developments is “dependent on global circumstances and market demand”, said the URA.

Among the eye-catching proposals in the latest urban-planning blueprint are a new waterfront “creative cluster” and “learning corridor” in the Punggol area anchored by a planned tertiary institution.

Urban planners have also outlined plans to provide 30 per cent more office space in the next 15 years in the downtown area, equivalent to adding twice the office capacity currently available in Raffles Place.

Marina South is envisioned as a “fenceless” residential precinct, similar to Robertson Quay and One North Residences. It will offer 9,000 private housing units and a total land area of 21.5ha will be developed. The area will feature an 800m-long pedestrianised street and an underground mall that will connect commuters to two MRT stations — Marina South and Gardens by the Bay — on the Thomson line.

An elevated landscaped walkway will link the Bay South Gardens to the seafront. Cycling paths will also be built to connect to other parts of Marina Bay. The URA said it is exploring the idea of an underground network of car parks in the district. If feasible, this will allow motorists to drive underground from one building to another.

To be developed only after 2017 or 2018, Marina South will be 30 per cent more energy-efficient than other districts, with buildings incorporating environmentally-friendly features, such as rain gardens and porous pavements. It will also be a test-bed to harness wind as a natural cooling system for the entire district.

At the 18ha Kampong Bugis, residents will be encouraged to commute using the MRT, bus and future water taxi services. It will also be a test-bed for sustainable water-management practices, with developments incorporating effective stormwater management systems and features such as bio-retention basins. To be developed after 2016, Kampong Bugis will offer about 4,000 private residential units.

The 6ha new extension at Holland Village, which will be completed within the next two years, will add another 1,500 private residential units within mixed developments.

Previously, some HDB blocks and a car park near Holland Village had been selected for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme as part of plans to redevelop the area.

New buildings in the area — which the URA noted was a popular haunt for Singaporeans and visitors — will be low- and medium-rise, as a way to ensure it retains its “eclectic” character, the authority said. On the cards are “pedestrian-oriented streets”, an underground parking station and a new access road.

The URA is holding an exhibition on the draft Master Plan at The URA Centre till Dec 19. The final plan will be released in the first quarter of next year.

Brochures for the various residential areas earmarked for new developments are also available at http://www.ura.gov.sg/MS/DMP2013

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