Updated: 02/01/2013 03:16

Singapore to increase its land supply to accommodate its projected population increase

Map of land use beyond 2030 (© Ministry of National Development)

Map of land use beyond 2030 (Ministry of National Development)

Singapore plans to increase its land supply by nearly 10 per cent to 76, 600 hectares to accommodate its projected population of 6.9 million by 2030. 

Singapore's total land supply now stands at 71,400 hectares.

That's according to the Land Use Plan released by the government today. 

About 60 per cent of land will be set aside for housing, industry and community facilities - up from the current 52 per cent. 

The details come just two days after the release of a report (White Paper on Population) outlining Singapore's strategies for a sustainable population. 

In a city that's so built up many Singaporeans are worried about the big squeeze.

But authorities here are promising a good living environment...and they say there is enough space. 

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan. 

"Some Singaporeans, in fact many say how could it be? It's already so crowded, 5.3 million, buses, trains, how is it possible to have 6.9 million population? The planners must be mad! I think that's a legitimate reaction and of course they ask good questions, which is, how can you be sure, more population, but quality of life will remain the same but in fact even better? Actually the answer is yes. It's possible, you can have a larger population and yet better quality of life but conditions must be right. So what are those conditions, one there must be planning, which means good long term planning and secondly there must be good infrastructure that must be built ahead of demand, so if those conditions are there then you can achieve this seemingly difficult problem how to achieve better quality of life despite greater or larger population and we are confident because we have time because we are talking about the future, 2020, 2025, 2030 and as planners our mantra is boy's scouts motto - prepare for the worst but hope for the best."

"So in fact from planners' point of view we need aggressive projection.The figure 6.9 sounds aggressive but from planners point of view, we need aggressive figures, aggressive projections, so that we can prepare for the worst."
The worst is if we plan for the best and then the worst comes, then you'll be under providing as what happened the last few years." 

The bulk of the extra land area needed will be done through land reclamation. 

Mainly at Tekong and Tuas. 

Beyond 2030, potential reclamation areas include Marina East, Changi East and Pasir Ris. 

Some golf courses and military training grounds will make way for redevelopment. 

To accommodate the 700,000 new homes by 2030, there are plans for new towns, new homes in existing estates and more homes in the central region. 

A major project would be to transform Tengah, primarily used for military training, into a new town with about 55,000 homes. 

The plan is to consolidate military training activities at Tekong once reclamation there is complete. 

These will be towns with a full range of amenities from child care centres, hospitals and recreational nodes. 

By 2030, at least 85 per cent of Singaporeans will live within a 10 to 15 minutes walk to a park. 

To alleviate congestion around main commercial centres, jobs will be brought closer to homes. 

So, there are plans for two new commercial belts - The North Coast Innovation Corridor and the Southern Waterfront City. 

Mr Khaw again. 

"The underlying principle is not quantity, it's not statistics, the underlying principle is quality. In the next phase of development of Singapore, let us strive for quality. Quality living, quality worklife, quality environment, quality schools, quality pre-schools, that have better balance in life. Quality in inter-people relationships, a more gracious society, inter-people relationship, a much more gracious society. I think that is a life worth looking forward to
and that is a vision that is within our grasp. We can achieve it., with better resources and better attitude, it is totally within our grasp. This is not to say we don't have current problems, over-crowding etc etc but you know we are addressing that as fast as we can and they will be resolved. Please do give us some time but even as we resolve current problems, our eyes must be on our future. So the key is planning and infrastructure and with time, we can achieve both, so don't worry." 

The land use report will be debated in Parliament next week. 

-By Imelda Saad

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