Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

July 24, 2008

Singapore upgrades

Filed under: About Singapore,Community Voices,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:16 am

Does the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Draft Master Plan live up to its ambitious vision? What do you like most about the plan, and what would you change or add?

THE URA’s Draft Master Plan focuses boldly on decentralisation, bringing buzz to the outskirts. I am positive that with this plan in place, Singaporeans will be able to enjoy the convenience of living, working and playing right at their doorsteps. The result of this plan is the creation of mini-communities within the larger community, and this will foster stronger ties among residents and improve the quality of life. With Singaporeans living longer and retiring later, this plan solves the need for convenience in housing, leisure, work and travel options. I am excited to see Singapore’s next level of development in the decade ahead.

The Leisure Plan shows foresight in planning, as it complements the housing, industry and travel infrastructure. This will further enhance Singapore’s greenery and waterfronts, and ensure the city does not become a concrete jungle – all work and no play. Consideration could be placed on a recent trend where Singaporeans are selecting homes in established neighbourhoods with ample amenities such as hospitals, schools, shopping facilities and accessibility, rather than those in the developing outskirts. By encouraging the public to be in tune with the development of infrastructure, and allowing them to monitor the process and celebrate milestones in the progress, they will be assured that Singapore as a country – and not just select neighbourhoods – is the place where they can truly live, work and play.

Deborah Ho
CEO
DBS Asset Management Ltd

THE URA’s Draft Master Plan to transform Singapore into a network of sub-metropolitan areas and a ‘live, work and play’ haven is timely.

The four redevelopments, namely, Downtown Core Precinct, Jurong Lake District, Kallang Riverside and Paya Lebar Central, must not all be more of the same. I would like to suggest that each should have its own identity and character to offer the widest range of ‘live, work and play’ options for Singaporeans.

For example, the Downtown Core Precinct can be the top nightlife entertainment centre in Singapore, building on the two integrated resorts, the Singapore Flyer and SingTel Formula One. The buzz should be permitted to flourish 24/7, much like Las Vegas.

Jurong Lake District can be transformed into a premier site for theme parks capitalising on the current tourist attractions, which can all be linked by a monorail system to enhance the visitor experience and to take in the lake and reservoirs in the area. Adding a softer touch to the existing industrial estate will certainly give it a much-needed lift. Kallang Riverside can be promoted as a centre for sea sports and other leisure activities, given the proximity of the Sports Hub. Paya Lebar Central can be developed into a vibrant entrepreneurial campus or hub much like Silicon Valley, where budding entrepreneurs can show off their innovations and inventions throughout the year. This could be the place where investors and start-ups meet to seal deals.

I interpret the Draft Master Plan as the government’s recognition of the past, present and future contributions of Singaporeans. Singaporeans work hard and deserve to enjoy a higher quality of life. Why not, when we can now afford it. That said, we must also make sure that the needs of the less fortunate are not forgotten. Singaporeans must continue to work towards being a more gracious society, if we are to reap the full benefits of the Draft Master Plan. Going forward, we have the unparalleled opportunity to work hard and play hard, befitting our status as a First World nation.

Lim Soon Hock
Managing Director
Plan-B Icag Pte Ltd

I THINK the URA has drafted a novel plan with great foresight for a tiny island with no natural resources and limited space that is facing increasing competition for business and talent from the region.

I especially welcome the plan to build more new homes, which I feel is overdue, considering the rising rental costs and foreign population. Creating quality housing at affordable prices is key to helping Singapore stay competitive and continue to attract and retain talent.

But along with providing more affordable waterfront homes, to bring people closer to nature, I think the Master Plan should also encompass plans for an eco-oriented city – much like the Sino-Singapore eco-city project in Tianjin, China. Besides bringing people closer to nature, we should also remind people to treasure and protect our resources. Including such elements as energy-saving buildings, environmentally friendly water and power supply and intelligent waste management will be the icing on the cake, and will showcase Singapore as a true model city for sustainable development.

Hans-Dieter Bott
Managing Director
Siemens Pte Ltd

THE Master Plan is indeed an exciting and ambitious vision for our city. It will position Singapore as a global, economic and cosmopolitan city, without losing its Asian and tropical uniqueness. It provides for balanced urban living with nature, green and blue, facilities for ‘live, work and play’.

While the URA’s artist impressions and videos are captivating, my concern is how much of these will tie in with our economic growth and how much will remain a paper plan. While we need to have such a vision, it must also be rooted in sound economic foundations for it to be achievable. We are in a sense competing with global cities like London, Beijing, Dubai, New York and Tokyo, and a city too can falter in its vision.

My second point is that a Master Plan is like a tapestry which acknowledges past contributions yet allows future additions. And the future must include the role of the private sector. On this note, the government needs to have a good sense of whether developers, both local and foreign, will buy into this vision.

Thirdly, lofty ideals if pitched too high could seem costly to the man in the street. He is concerned about mundane issues like accessibility, transportation, facilities, spaces, choices and, of course, cost. The plan should include cheaper and larger spaces, either public or private. An example of the latter would be loft spaces in cheaper zones (think New York) so that creative, young people without much money can thrive.

Lastly, on a pragmatic note, and because our company is in the business of protecting buildings and infrastructure, we see a need to build robustness in the city against natural hazards and terrorism. It might sound strange talking about this in relation to the Master Plan, but increasingly there will be a need to embed security and protection, just as the Master Plan needs to touch base with economics.

Liu Chunlin
CEO
K&C Protective Technologies Pte Ltd

BEING a firm advocate of family values, what I like most about the Master Plan is the wide range of leisure activities available. I can imagine Singapore being a much more interesting and exciting place to live with a round island route that offers many possibilities. Such opportunities not only encourage healthy living but also family days-out to enjoy each other’s company. This will be another step closer to work-life balance.

The plan also gives Singaporeans less reason to complain that they have nothing to do besides watching movies or indulging in the nation’s favourite pastime, shopping.

I applaud the move to create more ‘Uniquely Singapore’ experiences with the slated developments of wetlands and attractions closer to nature. Singapore will no longer be known just as a bustling concrete jungle but also a place that offers scenic reprieve.

Furthermore, tourists can look forward to a kaleidoscope of Singapore’s attractions – both the popular tourist attractions and those off the beaten track.

With much more to see and do, visitors would extend their vacation in Singapore, thus boosting the country’s tourism industry. And with more vibrant nightlife on the horizon, Singapore would also be known for its energetic and cosmopolitan landscape.

However, my concern is that with commercialisation, some of the leisure activities would become expensive indulgences and tourist traps. It should be highlighted that we don’t always have to pay to have fun – and we shouldn’t.

Annie Yap
CEO
The GMP Group

THERE are an estimated 141,000 households in the surrounding residential areas as well as more than 14,000 businesses around the locality. However, as Paya Lebar Central increasingly becomes an important employment centre, the sizeable resident population in the public housing estates of Geylang, Aljunied/Paya Lebar, Marine Parade and Bedok would benefit by forming the labour base for this new commercial node.

Existing commercial buildings or high-tech industrial buildings in the vicinity of Paya Lebar Central could also witness a strengthening of value over time as the entire area becomes a recognised place for work, shopping and community activities.

Pauline Goh
Managing Director
CB Richard Ellis Singapore

SINGAPORE has limited land resources and the URA’s plan to adopt a winning formula of ‘live, work and play’ in Kallang and Paya Lebar is indeed a step in the right direction. Given today’s high inflation rate and the seemingly unending increases in petrol prices, the ability to reduce commuting and have your place of work and recreational facilities nearby are factors most Singaporeans welcome.

While it is great for someone to be able to live, work and play in one area; doing this from Monday to Friday, year in and year out, can become ‘claustrophobic’ after a while.

For the next step, perhaps the URA or other relevant authorities could work jointly with the private sector to look at plans to jointly invest in and develop mega types of recreational facilities, such as a mega theme park or even an indoor ski resort, to provide a quick weekend getaway in some of the islands lying south of Singapore – without the hassle of flying.

While Singapore provides a safe environment, conducive business climate and political stability that augur well to attract foreign talents, the URA’s provision of a wholesome plan to ‘live, work and play’ will enhance our competitiveness to draw talents to Singapore.

Norman Yeow
Managing Director
Sanford Rose Associates

AS A global citizen, I have lived and worked in major cities throughout Japan and other countries prior to my current posting in Singapore. If Singapore can realise the Draft Master Plan 2008, the country will truly become one of the world’s few cities that successfully integrate residential, commercial and social needs.

Any thriving city needs buzz (which results from human activity), yet many of the world’s major cities currently sacrifice living standards in some way to generate buzz. It goes to show that holistic urban planning is easier said than done.

The Draft Master Plan 2008 suggests that the government has already identified the all-important goal of harmoniously blending diverse residential, commercial and social needs. To realise this goal, Singapore must seek innovative ways to ease the growing pressure on public resources (such as transportation or telecommunications networks) due to increased human activity.

For example, the strain on transportation networks could be reduced if round-the-clock broadband Internet connectivity – increasingly prevalent nowadays – allows residents to interact online for work or play. High-speed, on-demand Internet connectivity is an example of what Fujitsu Asia calls ‘ubiquitous computing’, and facilitates human interaction via large inter-connected networks and end-user devices including computers and handheld gadgets.

In addition, telecommunication needs inevitably increase with human activity, so the national broadband network should be regularly upgraded to ensure minimal system downtime and sufficient headroom for future growth.

As a leading IT and communications solutions provider, Fujitsu Asia can contribute indirectly to Singapore’s efforts in realising the Draft Master Plan 2008, by deploying solutions for ubiquitous computing or building high-speed telecommunication networks.

Noboru Oi
Group CEO
Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd

THE URA has already accomplished a very challenging feat, having successfully given the downtown area the much needed boost in the areas of business, hospitality and leisure. I am confident that the URA’s Draft Master Plan 2008 will work towards strengthening Singapore’s position as a distinct global business hub. The aim to help Singapore achieve a good balance of ‘live, work and play’ will also contribute to a better quality of life for both locals and foreigners living in Singapore.

One of the most attractive and significant aspects of the Master Plan is the objective of bringing jobs closer to home. Not only will this help all of us to achieve a better work-life balance, Singapore will also live up to its reputation as a city that boasts endless business opportunities.

In addition, residential areas that are further from the city also hold a lot of potential to be transformed into mini-hubs, with each focusing on a special business niche. Such initiatives, however, should be implemented without compromising the serenity and comfort that residents value in their neighbourhoods.

Charles Reed
CEO
DoCoMo interTouch

I THINK the URA’s latest Draft Master Plan, though ambitious, is workable if it is able to achieve a critical mass of residents, job opportunities and recreational facilities within each hub. A lot has to go into the final planning to ensure that there is the right mix of each element of ‘live, work and play’.

What’s interesting about this latest Master Plan is the aim to have distinctive features in each hub, for example, emphasising the lake element in the Jurong Lake District. This makes it very different from the monotonous satellite towns of the 1970s like Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio where one cannot really differentiate one town from another. By emphasising the unique features of each hub, they will appeal to different segments of the population.

Wee Piew
CEO
HG Metal Manufacturing Ltd

THERE is no doubt that the URA’s Draft Master Plan will deliver the Singapore government’s vision to raise the quality of living, working and playing in Singapore very significantly. The development of the island-wide network of parks and park connectors will provide Singaporeans with an excellent opportunity to better appreciate what nature has to offer, and hopefully make everyone more environmentally sensitive.

In view of Singapore’s ageing population, the needs of the elderly must not be overlooked in the plan. It is also important to ensure that the new facilities are affordable, pleasurable and accessible to the masses so that nobody is marginalised.

Darren Thomson
President & CEO
Manulife

Source : Business Times – 9 Jun 2008

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