More facilities may go underground

More facilities may go underground
Building and Construction Authority CEO John Keung said in an interview in 2013 that Singapore would have to go underground to search for more space.

SINGAPORE - THERE is scope to do more to make use of underground spaces in Singapore, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan (right) said on Tuesday.

The Government is even considering the possibility of developing a master plan for underground spaces.

"We are currently in the midst of updating our Master Plan and a draft will be put for public consultation via an exhibition soon," Mr Khaw said in a blog post.

"In parallel, we are thinking about the possibility of developing an underground equivalent of the Master Plan to see how practical underground plans can complement the above ground Master Plan to make our city even more exciting and liveable."

Singapore has made good use of underground spaces with MRT lines, expressways and even shopping malls located below ground. But Mr Khaw noted that other countries have done more.

He provided examples from Canada and Japan, where cities have extensive pedestrian paths, shopping malls and offices underground.

One of the largest and best known examples is in Montreal. The Canadian city's downtown area has 32km of tunnels, linking a wide range of facilities such as offices, hotels, retail shops, cinemas, universities and train stations.

"It is easily accessible and half a million people use it every day," Mr Khaw wrote.

"In Scandinavia, thanks to an abundance of good rocks, cities have made even more extensive use of underground space. These include sports and swimming complexes, utility plants, research and data storage facilities, and even concert halls and churches!"

Singapore also has the possibility of creating underground transport hubs, pedestrian links, cycling lanes, utility plants, storage, research and industrial facilities.

Such developments cost more, if surface land is available. "Still, 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 wrote.


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