Written by: Henny Maherah
Recovering from COVID-19 goes beyond curbing transmissions within our community. As the economy resumes and more people go back to work, what will urban planning in post-pandemic Singapore look like?
A Change in Singapore’s Urban Planning Philosophy
Due to our land limitations, urban planning in Singapore has always been designed to maximise space. This has led to the present-day situation where high-density communities, that are prone to disease transmissions, characterise our city state.
How will future urban plans be curated after the COVID-19 crisis to ensure land development continues to serve the current needs of the population whilst protecting us from future outbreaks?
Density With a Difference
In recent years, mixed-use developments have been steadily introduced to urban planning to cater to changing lifestyle needs. Locations such as the Central Business District (CBD) can expect more developments including residential, leisure and retail options. Extending the functionality of city landscapes ensures more people are in closer proximity to work, reducing the number commuting to and from residential neighbourhoods.
URA spokespersons introduced the CBD Incentive Scheme where “mono-use office-centric districts” will be transformed into vibrant mixed-use neighbourhoods. Based on the 2019 Master Plan, an estimate of 20,000 homes could be added within the CBD district.
Enhancing Public Spaces
The pandemic sharpened the importance of the accessibility to amenities in neighbourhoods that boost overall health and wellness. “Place-based approaches” would have more focus in urban planning where more public spaces would be developed to promote physical activities within residential neighbourhoods.
This includes park connectors that link neighbourhoods to a network of public parks, biking trails, and jogging paths such as the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Connector.
Increased Dining and Recreation Options in Neighbourhoods
Work-from-home arrangements would increase the demand for retail and dining options within neighbourhoods instead of the city district. Dining spaces such as coffee shops and hawker centres in neighbourhood heartlands can also be enlarged to reduce human congestion.
Urban development has always been an important facet in building liveable and sustainable communities in Singapore. The integration of safe distancing measures within land use planning will further enhance our community to ensure health is the utmost priority.
Keep your home safe and virus-free during this pandemic. Here’s a handy tip to stay productive while working from home even with kids around. With continued vigilance, we can protect our loved ones and community from the pandemic.
Source: Today Online