Friday, February 12, 2010

Live, Work and Play at Lorong Halus

TODAY, FRIDAY, 5TH FEBRUARY, 2010, NEWS, PAGE 10
http://imcms2.mediacorp.sg/CMSFileserver/documents/006/PDF/20100205/0502HNR014.pdf
By
Neo Chai Chin, chaichin@mediacorp.com.sg


ECONOMIC STRATEGIES COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
Live, Work, Play - Self-contained enclaves may help maximise land value



PHOTO: TODAY, FRIDAY, 5TH FEBURARY, 2010, NEWS, PAGE 10

SINGAPORE - The Economic Strategies Committee thinks that Singapore should have more liveable industrial townships.

Instead of the manufacturing clusters that come to mind now, the image for the future is a clean, high-rise complex with manufacturing, research and test-bedding facilities under one roof.



PHOTO: Water Quality Assessment for Punggol & Serangoon Reservoirs
http://www.cpgcorp.com.sg/admin/files/portfolio/WQ_Assessment_for_PSRS.jpg

Tenants would enjoy shared facilities such as carparks and storage space. Housing, dining and recreational facilities would all be within easy reach of employees, with machinery discreetly and conveniently tucked underground.

Live-work-play” enclaves with distinctive characters are the way to go, if proposals from the subcommittee on maximising land value are realised. And its members believe this is possible, as the shift toward knowledge-intensive jobs means “there will be greater room to integrate economic uses together with residential and leisure uses”.



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Industrialists have highlighted the difficulty in getting workers to commute to remote parts of Singapore, and as new and emerging industries in Singapore will bring fewer environmental concerns, “there’s really a need to bring elements together”, said sub-committee co-chair Grace Fu, who is also Senior Minister of State (National Development).

Creating liveable and desirable industrial spaces is essential to attract talented workers to Singapore, and “as the line between manufacturing and services gets blurred ... we can bring jobs closer to people and bring workers closer to workplaces”, said sub-committee member Tai Lee Siang, director of DP Architects.



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Industrial townships will have to shed their “pollution and dirty image” and become live-work-play environments within a green setting.

It was revealed yesterday, for example, that there are plans for an industrial park at Lorong Halus — a former landfill that is now a green spot with grasslands and wooded hills — with lifestyle products and food industries set amid greenery and the Serangoon River.



PHOTO: http://www.cpgcorp.com.sg/admin/files/portfolio/water%20and%20environment/Lor_Halus_Landfill_Environmental_Study.jpg


Industries of the future will be less dependent on land, so it will be possible for estate planners to “stack the spaces in high-rise configuration”, Mr Tai added.



PHOTO: Bathing in sunshine
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Such a vision has already been articulated for the Kallang Riverside precinct, which will consist of an industrial area, waterfront residences, office and entertainment venues.



PHOTO: TODAY, FRIDAY, 5TH FEBURARY, 2010, NEWS, PAGE 10


And for industrial sectors that are “large land-takers and/or with low plot ratio”, such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, solar and marine sectors, the subcommittee asked for the Government to provide incentives to “encourage experimentation” in innovative industrial plant layouts.



PHOTO: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1004/715579064_a9bc7f95bd_b.jpg

The aim: To achieve a smaller land footprint, given that industrial land now takes up more than 10 per cent of Singapore’s total land stock.



PHOTO: Lonely in this land
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Property observer Colin Tan of Chesterton Suntec International told MediaCorp that with relaxed zoning policies, each business cluster will likely develop a stronger identity. In the past, he said, the Government didn’t allow flexibility of use.

Now, we say one urban centre looks very much like another because of these strict guidelines. The moment you allow some flexibility, each area will have its own distinctive identity,” Mr Tan said.



PHOTO: Punggol Serangoon Reservoir Scheme
http://www.cpgcorp.com.sg/admin/files/portfolio/water%20and%20environment/PSRS_pers.jpg

To create more land in the longer term, the sub-committee called for underground space to be developed and synergised with above-ground facilities.



PHOTO: Water Quality Assessment for Punggol & Serangoon Reservoirs
http://www.cpgcorp.com.sg/admin/files/portfolio/WQ_Assessment_for_PSRS.jpg


While it is unclear if this latest call would be in time to take advantage of ongoing underground rail works for the Downtown Line, Ms Fu said the Urban Redevelopment Authority has “started discussions at some stations”, such as the Botanic Gardens.
Neo Chai Chin, chaichin@mediacorp.com.sg



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Reference