Committee on the Future Economy report: Make Singapore a vibrant global city that is full of opportunities

Garden of Light, an animation by Hexogon Solution of Singapore, is projected on the ArtScience Museum.
Garden of Light, an animation by Hexogon Solution of Singapore, is projected on the ArtScience Museum.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Orchard Road shopping belt could be transformed into a place with more cultural performances and regular programmes, wider walkways and more sheltered paths, if a recommendation by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) is accepted.

This is part of a broad strategy to create a vibrant city that is full of opportunities and is well-connected to the rest of the world.

It also includes improving air, land, sea as well as digital links with other countries.

This strategy is among seven strategies proposed by the Committee to help grow Singapore's economy in the long term.

Said the committee in a 109-page report released on Thursday (Feb 9): "Cities are the economic drivers of the future. Singapore's capacity to flourish in the future global economy is tied to the city-state's ability to attract and create opportunities."

It added: "The city must be well-connected externally, with sufficient space to grow and rejuvenate internally."


1. Improve connectivity

This involves building new infrastructure to connect Singapore to other countries, to strengthen the country's position as a global air and sea hub.

The committee encouraged the development of Changi Airport's Terminal 5 and suggested the progressive upgrading of the other terminals. The upcoming seaport in Tuas and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail will also better link Singapore with other countries.

Besides physical connectivity, Singapore should also invest in digital communications infrastructure to improve its digital connectivity, both within the country and to the rest of the world.

2. Bold urban planning

Singapore's small size is a key challenge in pursuing economic growth, the report said.

But being bold in urban planning and land use can help Singapore overcome its limited land.

The committee urged the Government to be creative in the use of spaces, including locating bus interchanges and electrical substations underground and building multi-purpose floating platforms.

It added that there could also be more multi-level, specialised infrastructure with shared facilities, such as the JTC Chemicals Hub, where chemical companies carry out manufacturing and distribution all in one place.

Another suggestion was to create an urban logistics system, including the roll-out of a nationwide locker system and logistics networks in new industrial estates.

3. Clusters of innovation and the arts

To make the city more vibrant, the committee said that the Jurong Lake District could be developed into a "livelier second Central Business District".

It also recommended that related economic activities be located close to one another . For example, Punggol could become the place for businesss in the digital, infocomm technology and cyber security fields.

More workspaces for startups should also be created, and industrial spaces should be used for a greater range of purposes.

Some of Singapore's lifestyle destinations could also do with sprucing up, such as Orchard Road. The committee recommended that the private sector work with the Government to upgrade the shopping belt.

4. Export urban solutions

Singapore can be a "living lab" for urban solutions that can be exported to the rest of the world.

The Government could help more Singapore-based firms in this area, by setting aside zones where they can test and refine their products.

The committee suggested that Singapore experiment with new forms of transport such as electrical vehicles, hydrogen vehicles and self-driving vehicles and embrace them if they become technically and commercially viable.

Singapore should also ramp up its use of solar energy and invest more in research and development of energy storage, as well as use energy more efficiently.

The report said : "We should apply our minds creatively to imagine new spaces, implement bold urban plans and designs, and be good stewards of our precious physical resources. Singapore can be a vibrant and connected city for generations to come."