Forum: Put land to better use by having fewer roads and more food-producing areas instead

Roads cover around one-eighth of Singapore's land surface. Include accompanying pavements running alongside most roads, and it is rather alarming that so much precious land in a land-scarce country goes to roads.

In Britain, major roads are mostly two-lanes wide, and motorways have four lanes. Here, as an example, the new Sengkang West Way connecting two parts of Sengkang is a six-lane road with extremely light traffic. And part of Sumang Walk is a four-lane road that leads to and from an HDB carpark. These are clear examples of road-building gone overboard.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic did not result in the complete collapse of food supply chains, should the next pandemic be deadlier and totally stop the flow of food, it is work preparing to be more self-sufficient in food that would save us, not our roads.

Instead of thinking it isn't possible to at least be more self-sufficient in food production, we should emulate and learn from the likes of Israel and the Netherlands.

Despite Israel having large swathes of arid land, its food production is intensive and high-tech. Similarly, despite land and water constraints in the Netherlands, it is a net exporter of agricultural products. We could produce more food too.

Also, as a highly built-up city, more asphalt-laying will add to the heat we feel.

Besides relooking the design of access roads to buildings by perhaps grouping buildings into clusters and reducing the need to surround all sides of each block with a road, those in charge of roads should instead see if there are places where roads could be reclaimed to create parks or for high-tech food production.

As we aim to be car-lite in the future, road-building is not sustainable and in fact can negatively impact our ability to survive the next existential threat - be it food or climate.

Peh Chwee Hoe

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