SINGAPORE: The government is planning to build 700,000 new homes by 2030.
That is one of the long—term plans to support the projected increase in population which is expected to hit 6.9 million in about 20 years.
Some Singaporeans have observed that population growth in Singapore has outpaced infrastructure development in the last five years.
The government is now planning and investing in advance to accommodate a larger population.
Beyond just relieving strains on public transport and housing today are long—term plans to ramp up infrastructure developments to support a population of up to six million in 2020 and then a population of up to 6.9 million in 2030.
There are already plans to add 800 buses over five years, and by 2030, to double of the rail network to 360 kilometres.
This means the addition of three new MRT lines and an extension of two existing lines over the next nine years.
Come 2030, there will be another two new lines and three extensions, allowing eight in 10 homes to be within a 10—minute walk from a train station.
To further alleviate the strain on public transport, more jobs will be located near residential areas, reducing the need to commute.
The White Paper has named Woodlands, Serangoon and Punggol as possible growth areas to create more space for businesses. It also said the Jurong Lake District, Paya Lebar Central and One—North will be expected to mature by then.
More healthcare facilities are also in the pipeline with three general hospitals, five community hospitals and two medical centres set to open between 2014 and 2020.
On the way too are 200,000 new homes which will be ready by 2016.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said even more land has been set aside to build another 500,000 homes until 2030.
Mr Khaw is confident his ministry will be able to resolve the housing shortage and assured Singaporeans that there will be enough homes.
For first timers who had difficulty applying for a new flat, Mr Khaw said this problem has been largely resolved.
Mr Khaw explained: "There is some mismatch because of our balloting system. If you look at the figure, (there are about 15,000) new family formations every year but I’m building 25,000 new units a year and we have been doing so. This is into the third year now."
Possible sites for these new homes include new towns in Bidadari, Tampines North and Tengah but some will also be built in mature estates, allowing children to stay close to their parents.
"Wherever there are possible sites for development, we have to do so. And that’s why sometimes it is a bit painful for us to have to remove some trees which I know many people are upset about. We are equally upset because I love trees but sometimes it can’t be helped because of larger objectives, larger benefits," he said.
Mr Khaw added that good urban planning to achieve a high quality of living is a top priority for the government.
There will be more green spaces and parks, and by 2030, at least 85 per cent of Singapore’s households will live within 400 metres of a park.
The National Development Ministry is expected to release more details on land use plans this week.
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