Experts laud plan to build inclusive communities

Experts laud plan to build inclusive communities
Hundreds of people flocked to an exhibition at The URA Centre displaying an exhibit of the Marina South area which was one of the areas to be developed as unveiled in the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Draft Master Plan 2013. It is tipped to be a magnet for the well-heeled. The exhibition, which includes sprawling three-dimensional models and artist's impressions, helped many visualise the developments.

Architects and urban planners welcomed the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Draft Master Plan, lauding its focus on building more inclusive communities with strong identities.

But they pointed out that certain groups like the elderly and transient workers are left out in the planning and that there are not enough details on plans to ensure environmental sustainability.

The URA released its Draft Master Plan 2013 on Wednesday to guide Singapore's land use over the next 10 to 15 years.

The draft outlines, among other things, plans for pedestrian-oriented and "fenceless" developments in Marina South, Kampong Bugis and Holland Village.

It also suggests several concepts for the Greater Southern Waterfront, the 1,000ha space to be freed up by the relocation of Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang port terminals to Tuas before 2027. These concepts include having a reservoir, canal network and waterfront promenade, and extending the Central Business District to the southern coast.

Like most of the 10 architects and planning experts whom The Straits Times spoke to, National University of Singapore (NUS) geographer Lily Kong applauded the plan's focus on middle-class Singaporeans.

The master plan, she noted, outlines opportunities for them to live near the city centre, work closer to home as more commercial hubs are located outside the city centre, and enjoy more green spaces like parks.

But Professor Kong said it is unclear how the needs of some population groups will be met. "In particular, with an ageing population, how does the master plan cater to this growing group?" she asked. "What about the transient non-resident population that Singapore will continue to rely on?"

Experts also like the plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront.

Architect Chang Yong Ter of Chang Architects said these would allow greater public access to the coastline, while Associate Professor Ng Wai Keen of NUS' architecture department said the move would allow already-urbanised land to be "recycled".

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