Private urban planners can help build a better Singapore: Lawrence Wong

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong speaking at the Singapore Institute of Planners' Planning Awards Presentation Dinner, where planners, designers and related design consultancy firms were recognised for their work in both local and over
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong speaking at the Singapore Institute of Planners' Planning Awards Presentation Dinner, where planners, designers and related design consultancy firms were recognised for their work in both local and overseas projects. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF PLANNERS

City planning more critical amid issues like climate change, says Lawrence Wong

The Government will continue to lead urban planning efforts in Singapore to tackle issues like climate change, but it will need help from urban planners and other stakeholders in the private sector.

This is essential to build Singapore into a better, greener and more liveable city, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

He was speaking to urban planners and designers at the Singapore Institute of Planners' Planning Awards Presentation Dinner at Swissotel Merchant Court.

The awards recognise planners, designers and related design consultancy firms for their work in both local and overseas projects.

Urban planners are people who plan and design the use of space within urban areas.

Mr Wong said that how cities are planned and organised is becoming more critical amid challenges such as social inequality, environmental issues and climate change.

He added that while the Government takes charge of urban planning here, it would be able to develop better plans working with planners in the private sector.

He also noted that planners would need to consider a wide range of views to tackle challenges such as climate change.

 
 
 
 

"When you think of an issue like climate change, the solution has to be from many different domains... ranging from physical engineering, design solutions to behavioural science solutions to nudge people's behaviours towards more sustainable practices," said Mr Wong.

"You also need, for example, micro-climate modelling skills to better understand urban design and how it interacts with outdoor thermal comfort."

He urged planners to start thinking about what they could do with space that will be developed in Singapore as the country rejuvenates and reinvents itself for the future.

An example of upcoming available space is the land on which Paya Lebar Air Base is built.

The relocation of the air base from 2030 to bases in Tengah and Changi will free up 800ha of land - bigger than Bishan or Ang Mo Kio.

Current height restrictions in the eastern swathe of Singapore to ensure navigational safety for aircraft will be relaxed, meaning that current low-rise buildings may be redeveloped.

Another example of land that will be redeveloped is in the Greater Southern Waterfront area.

The waterfront area stretches from Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang, covering around 30km of the southern coastline with about 2,000ha of land for potential redevelopment - almost six times the size of Marina Bay.

Development will take place in phases, starting with the former Pasir Panjang Power District, Keppel Club and Mount Faber in the next five to 10 years.

Mr Wong said planners can already start thinking about what can be done with those sites.

He added: "We look forward to working with all our planners to shape this exciting new phase of building our next Singapore."

He also said it was important for the Government to see through the plans designed by urban planners, even if these last over several terms of government.

At the awards ceremony yesterday, the Housing Board emerged as the big winner.

It snagged gold awards in best planning, for its work in the master planning of Punggol Town; best urban design, for its rejuvenation of Bedok Town Centre; and best infrastructure for its work on My Waterway@Punggol.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'Private urban planners can help build a better S'pore: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe