Principle 1: Plan for Long-Term Growth and Renewal
Singapore’s use of “white sites” in its land development policy allowed private developers some flexibility to synchronise their development cycles with economic cycles in order to optimise land use in the longer term. “White sites” do not strictly prescribe land use but let developers, within some parameters, decide the development mix they want to be responsive to market conditions.
Principle 2: Embrace Diversity, Foster Inclusiveness
The city has fostered inclusiveness and built community bonds through neighbourhood community centres that bring together people of similar interests from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Principle 3: Draw Nature Closer to People
Not only has the city achieved 50 per cent green cover in line with its aim to be “a city in a garden”, it has also adapted the waterways system – from drains to canals to rivers – for recreational use. The accessibility of nature within the city has helped soften the harder edges of urban living.
Principle 4: Develop Affordable Mixed-Use Neighbourhoods
In Singapore’s new towns, facilities such as shopping malls and libraries are located at the town centre while kindergartens and childcare facilities would be closer to the residential areas. Generally, most services within a precinct can be reached on foot or by public transport. Having shared amenities also make the cost of living in these developments more affordable.
Principle 5: Make Public Spaces Work Harder
Utilitarian spaces such as train lines, flood ways and rooftops can be designed or adapted to serve multiple uses. For instance, to connect two waterbodies in Punggol town, the government built a canal instead of a utilitarian pipeline. This canal could then be used by the residents for recreational activities and it also increased the land value of the developments along the waterway.
Principle 6: Prioritise Green Transport and Building Options
Through the Green Mark incentive scheme, Singapore has promoted green buildings with an eye to mitigate the urban heat island effect and to reduce the carbon footprint. By 2030, the aim is to have 80 per cent of the building stock meeting Green Mark certification standards.
Principle 7: Relieve Density with Variety and Add Green Boundaries
“Checkerboard planning” was often used in Singapore’s town planning to mitigate density by having different types of land use within a town, and also developments that are varied in terms of the height and density. Green boundaries between one high-density neighbourhood and another also provide relief. For example, Bishan and Ang Mo Kio, two dense neighbourhoods in Singapore, are separated by a park that gives residents some “breathing space”.
Principle 8: Activate Spaces for Greater Safety
Safety and security are important elements that contribute to a high quality of life. Spaces in Singapore’s new towns are designed such that thoroughfares are punctuated by playgrounds and public squares, ensuring that there will be a level of activity throughout the day to keep these spaces safe. Public areas in Singapore are also designed to have few “hidden corners” so that there can be more “eyes on the street” to make the area safer.
Principle 9: Promote Innovative and Nonconventional Solutions
Out of necessity, Singapore moved from a horizontal perspective of land use to a more innovative vertical perspective. Utilitarian spaces in Singapore are both above and below ground. Underground stockpiles free up land for other uses while “ramp-up factories” have a small footprint as they are stacked vertically rather than spread out horizontally.
Principle 10: Forge 3P Partnerships
For dense cities where trade-offs are in land use are likely to occur when new development are initiated, collaboration among the public and private sectors, as well as with the people sector (the three sectors are collectively referred to as ‘3P’) not only helped improve development solutions but also allow for the smooth implementation of these solutions. The Orchard Road Business Association is a 3P collaboration that has contributed to the provision of underground pedestrian connections, thematic street lighting, innovative façade design and even a butterfly trail on Singapore’s main shopping street.