Saturday, May 1, 2010

Most call S'pore a great place to live, work & play

Two URA surveys find greater satisfaction among residents than in 2006, although many are dismayed by city's rapidly ever-changing face

CLOSE to 85 per cent of residents here reckon Singapore is a great place to live, work and play, findings from two recent surveys show.

Most are also attached to their housing estates. But there are areas of concern: the physical landscape in Singapore changes too quickly, and the often-heard complaint that the nightlife scene here is not vibrant enough.

The surveys were conducted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). It interviewed 4,000 people for its Lifestyle Survey 2009 over seven months from last August to March this year. And it invited the public to give feedback via the Concept Plan 2011 online survey from January to February.

Information gathered from the surveys will be incorporated into the ongoing Concept Plan 2011 review, which maps out the long-term directions for Singapore's land use.

Overall, 83.8 per cent of respondents agreed that Singapore has a great live-work-play environment - a 10.2 per cent increase from what a similar survey found in 2006.

The latest surveys also reveal that more people find Singapore a vibrant and exciting city with its own distinctive character. Seventy-eight per cent of respondents agreed with this - an 11.4 per cent increase from the 2006 survey.

But 73.2 per cent also said they feel the physical landscape here changes too quickly. And 64.2 per cent said Singapore does not keep enough familiar buildings and places around. There was broad agreement that the government should keep enough familiar buildings and places at all cost to strengthen people's sense of belonging.

This is especially so as residents seem to be attached to places. For instance, 34.1 per cent of respondents said they have the fondest memories of housing estates.

On another front, just 43.2 per cent of respondents said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the adequacy, variety and vibrancy of night-time activities and events.

Presenting the findings at a URA seminar yesterday, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said they indicate that efforts to remake Singapore are having positive results.

But he said: 'A house is not a home. Simply having a good living environment and First World infrastructure will not create an endearing home. The character of a city - what makes it stand out among many new cities - goes beyond new buildings or iconic structures.'

Mr Mah also gave an update on the government's 'place management' efforts. Place management - now being done for Marina Bay - involves a coordinated, area-based, multi-stakeholder approach that involves the public and private sectors.

Next up is the Singapore River precinct. URA will engage the stakeholders to develop a five-year business plan to increase the area's economic and social vibrancy.

Mr Mah said: 'This could involve working with stakeholders to improve the infrastructure of the area, how they can host events to attract people to the precinct to develop the Singapore River into a vibrant riverfront for all.'

A tender for a business consultancy study on the Singapore River area will be called in May or June.

Place management efforts will also be applied to Orchard Road, Bras Basah, Bugis and historic districts, URA said.

Source: Business Times, 1 May 2010

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