Govt considering underground masterplan: Khaw

Govt considering underground masterplan: Khaw

SINGAPORE - AN UNDERGROUND city with shopping malls, research facilities and even cycling lanes.

This is worth exploring to make Singapore "even more exciting and liveable", said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on his blog on Tuesday, suggesting that the Government is considering an "underground" masterplan.

The current land use masterplan, last reviewed in 2008, sets out how much needs to be built to efficiently spread the population across the island.

"We are currently in the midst of updating our master- plan... In parallel, we are thinking about the possibility of developing an underground equivalent... to see how practical underground plans can complement the above-ground masterplan," revealed the minister.

Although expanding underground will be expensive compared with building on the surface, "we can try to push the boundary of usage - to experiment, to learn and to evolve practical, innovative solutions - so as to prepare for the future", he added.

Building underground is not a new concept here.

Already, about 12km of expressways and nearly 80km of train lines are below the surface. Once completed, Jurong Island's Rock Cavern, located at a depth of 130m, will also become Southeast Asia's first underground petrochemicals storage facility.

But Mr Khaw believes there is scope to do more, pointing to other cities which have exploited subterranean spaces well.

Montreal's underground city Reso, which is used by 500,000 people daily, has offices, hotels, cinemas and even universities. And in Scandinavia, swimming complexes and even concert halls and churches have been built underground.

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