Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vision of future Singapore

A VISION of future Singapore as a place which celebrates diversity, encourages community life and creates iconic spaces has been drawn by a group tasked to look at improving the quality of life here.

Among their ideas are to create desirable housing for the elderly, develop a transport network that lets people get around the city easily, and allow places with distinct character to grow.

Preliminary recommendations were presented to 200 people yesterday at a public feedback forum by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on its Concept Plan 2011, which sets out directions for land use and transport for the next 40 to 50 years.

The focus group recommended creating spaces that would have distinct and different purposes, from art outreach to community interaction.

Because of land scarcity, green spaces need not be huge and could be 'pocket-sized', said Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore and the group's co-chairman.

He told reporters the group was in 'strong agreement' about letting distinctive neighbourhoods, like Bras Basah and Little India, develop organically and open up to greater community involvement.

Suggestions for the greying population included allowing seniors to live next door to their family members. Technology must also be better harnessed to improve the transport system so that they and the disabled can get around easily.

The feasibility of getting around on bicycles generated a lot of discussion too, said Mr Edmund Cheng, chairman of the National Arts Council and the group's co-chairman.

Forum participants also suggested making shopping centres more diverse and less homogeneous, reducing pollution by replacing buses with electric trams in the city and saving energy by having buildings that do not need too much air-conditioning.

Another focus group looked into issues of sustainability and identity. The finalised recommendations will be taken into consideration by URA for the concept plan, to be made public next year for feedback.

Source: Straits Times, 11 May 2010

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