More can still be done to make use of underground spaces: Minister Khaw

An underground linkway between Orchard Central and The Centrepoint. There is still scope to do much more in terms of making use of underground spaces in Singapore, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DES
An underground linkway between Orchard Central and The Centrepoint. There is still scope to do much more in terms of making use of underground spaces in Singapore, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

There is still scope to do much more in terms of making use of underground spaces in Singapore, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday.

In his latest blog entry, Mr Khaw noted other countries who have done much more with their underground space to enhance their residents' quality of life. Examples include Canada and Japan, whose cities have extensive pedestrian passages, shopping malls and offices underground. One of the "largest and most well-known" underground city is Montreal's RÉSO, he wrote. "It comprises 32km of tunnels covering about 12sq km in downtown Montreal, linking a wide range of facilities such as offices, hotels, retail shops, cinemas, universities and train stations. It is easily accessible and half a million people use it every day."

Singapore has made good use of underground spaces with shopping malls, MRT lines and expressways located underground. But more can be done and the ministry is "thinking about the possibility of developing an underground equivalent of the Master Plan" even though these developments do cost more, wrote Mr Khaw.

He added: "Taking reference from other cities, there are possibilities of creating underground transport hubs, pedestrian links, cycling lanes, utility plants, storage and research facilities, industrial uses, shopping areas and other public spaces here."