Friday, May 7, 2010

URA focus group shares suggestions

A FOCUS group set up to look at sustainability and identity issues for the Concept Plan 2011 recommends that Singapore aim to be 'environmentally and socially sustainable'.

The group, set up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in January, announced its draft recommendations and sought public feedback on them at a forum yesterday.

The recommendations have two main thrusts: building a sustainable city and making Singapore an endearing home.

Under the first key thrust, the group wants stronger 'green' infrastructure and greater sharing and ownership of sustainable practices.

This can include reviewing the land tender system to include criteria to encourage developers to incorporate more green features in their projects, and establishing an island-wide waste-reduction and recycling programme.

The focus group also advocates promoting environmentally friendly transport and reviewing car parking policies to discourage the use of private transport - for example, by reducing the number of car parking lots or charging higher car parking fees in the city and town centres.

Ong Keng Yong, co-chairman of the focus group and director of the Institute of Policy Studies, said a 'holistic' blueprint - rather than a 'piecemeal' approach - is needed to make Singapore sustainable.

Under the second key thrust - making Singapore an endearing home - the focus group asks the government to safeguard the island's built and natural heritage, including historic districts such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India, monuments such as the old Supreme Court and City Hall and natural areas such as Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Pulau Ubin.

The focus group also wants to enhance people's experience of Singapore's built and natural heritage and involve the community in shaping an endearing Singapore. It recommends greater involvement of local communities, schools, stakeholders and NGOs in designing and managing 'endearing' spaces.

'It's to try to build a consensus among all the stakeholders in a particular area on how to cherish, safeguard the things we love in that district,' said Lee Tzu Yang, co-chairman of the focus group and chairman of Shell Singapore.

The public feedback sought by URA will be considered by the focus group for incorporation in its final report.

Source: Business Times, 7 May 2010

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