A Global Take on the Future of Jurong Lake District

A panel of land use experts convened in Singapore this January to explore development strategies for its upcoming Jurong Lake District.

February 2018 | Report

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Source: Urban Land Institute
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Source: Urban Land Institute
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Source: Urban Land Institute
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Source: Urban Land Institute
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Source: Urban Land Institute


Written By Dionne Hoh and Steven Gu


A panel of land use experts convened in Singapore this January to explore development strategies for its upcoming Jurong Lake District. The 10-member panel, put together by the Urban Land Institute, spent a week in Singapore learning about it, before coming up with recommendations to make this upcoming regional centre more attractive, vibrant, and liveable for residents, short-term travellers and businesses.


The opportunity to bring together this team of experts in master-development, master-planning, investment, project finance, public service in project delivery, planning and politics, came about in mid-September 2017, when the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) invited the ULI’s Advisory Services Program to provide strategies to support the government’s planned land parcel sales for Jurong Lake District over the next few years. This was part of a blueprint unveiled by URA in 2008 to reinvent this once pioneering industrial town that is home to over 226,000 residents today into Singapore’s largest commercial centre outside of the city centre.


“The district is the base from which a kind of cocktail of innovative people can come together within very attractive environments with a lot of flexibility,” said Prof. Kees Christiaanse, lead member of the winning master plan consultant, KCAP Architects&Planners. Jurong lake District is looking forward to two major projects, including housing the High-Speed Rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, slated to be completed by end 2026, and the Tuas port, with its final phase completing by 2021.


The ULI panel, consisting of members from three continents and five different countries, flew in to Singapore to start work on a Sunday, where they were warmly welcomed by CLC Executive Director Khoo Teng Chye over lunch. This was followed by an informative walking tour of Singapore’s current Central Business District (CBD) by CLC Fellow Michael Koh to equip them with the knowledge to continue the narrative of the second CBD in Jurong Lake District. The panel was then welcomed by Peter Ho, Chairman of the URA with a Chinese New Year dinner to give them a flavour of local culture and festivities as well.


The following two days saw the panel get up-close and personal with Jurong Lake District. Experts from local agencies URA, LTA, and JTC introduced the panel to the challenges and opportunities in the district’s current master plan, and took them on a study tour of two current mixed-use developments, JEM and Westgate, and a transit connector, the J-Walk. At a public reception at JTC tower with over 90 land use professionals, the panel debated into the night to identify the needs and aspirations of the place. They also interviewed both public and private stakeholders of the district.


“The interviews were really interesting… we got people who had relevant, [candid] opinions...all in one day,” said the panel’s chairman, Jeremy Newsum, formerly from Grosvenor Estate in London, UK.


For the rest of the week, the panel digested and consolidated the information gathered from the presentation and interviews. They deliberated and debated on the best practices that would allow Jurong Lake District to achieve its fullest potential and presented these to the Ministry of National Development (MND), URA, and CLC on the last day of the workshop that was also graced by MND Permanent Secretary Ow Foong Pheng. To mark the end of the workshop, the panel was invited to an appreciation lunch hosted by the Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong.


CLC Executive Director Khoo was impressed with what the panel achieved in such a short time. “The presentation by the panel was incredible… I don’t think that would have happened in any other contexts or situation.” He believed ULI’s ability to pull together high-calibre land use experts from around the world would benefit the intense urban development going on in this part of the world today. “The ULI Advisory Services process has impressed everyone. On the government’s side, everyone is saying ‘Wow, we put in a lot of effort, but it is worth it’.”


The panel also had a very positive overall experience working with Singapore, and was certain that their hard work would be taken seriously. One of the panel members, Simon Tracey of The Howard Hughes Corporation in the USA, said, “Singapore is a place [that] will seriously digest, workshop, actively consider [recommendations], and make it something even better than what we [provided].”


About the Writers


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Dionne Ho


Dionne manages the CLC’s real estate research and partnerships. She has written publications on car-lite urban mobility and on local planning concepts, including Reimagining Orchard Road, Urban Mobility: 10 Cities in Asia Pacific and Creating Liveable Cities Through Car-Lite Urban Mobility. She is also an active young leader member of the Urban Land Institute. Dionne holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Real Estate from the National University of Singapore


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Steve Gu


Steven Gu is a Fulbright research fellow from the United States. At the CLC, he is conducting research on biking accessibility in Singapore. Prior to CLC, Steven was with the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. for two years in the Advisory Services program, working with both public and private sector on land use issues. He graduated from Swarthmore College (Honours) in Urban Studies and Political Science.