Tag Archives: Singapore

Singapore a success story in urban planning, says former HDB CEO

View of rush hour traffic in Singapore.

Singapore’s former master planner Dr Liu Thai Ker said the city-state is a success story in urban planning due in part to strong government support.

Speaking to attendees on Tuesday (7 November) at PropertyGuru’s Asia Real Estate Summit held at Marina Bay Sands, he noted that despite its small land area (719 sq km), Singapore is subdivided into five regions and 20 towns.

“Without the subdivisions, all traffic would come to the Central Business District. But with subdivisions, some of the traffic goes to the regional centres and new towns.”

As such, Singapore has been able to avoid serious traffic problems, even with a high-density population, he said.

But there are huge challenges facing urban planners in other parts of Asia as the continent houses 60 percent of the world’s population on 30 percent of its land, revealed Liu, adding that there is a 50 percent rate of rural to urban migration.

“We need to rethink the approach to urban planning,” said Liu who feels that less attention is being placed on design compared to innovation, a field that’s seen as more glamorous.

“Design should come first and be enhanced by technology. You must first try to understand the basic human needs which haven’t changed for centuries. When you have this, then you create a design to meet today’s needs, but the design must (also meet) future standards.”

He explained that intelligent urban planning requires three elements – the right value, a scientific head and an artistic eye.

Without science, there would be floods, air pollution and traffic jams, while having an artistic eye puts “feeling” into the project, he said.

Liu was previously the CEO of the Housing and Development Board and saw the completion of over half a million public housing units.

He was also chief planner and CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, where he led the major revision of the Singapore Concept Plan 1991.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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Singapore in need of senior housing projects: report

Expecting the ageing population in Singapore to increase to one in four by 2030, the city-state may be in need of private residential developments that cater specifically to seniors.

This comes as “most senior citizens want to live independently and age-in-place rather than move into a nursing home,” said Edmund Tie & Co in a report.

But unlike those living in public housing, who have various options to monetize their homes such as the Lease Buyback Scheme, Silver Housing Bonus Scheme and HDB’s two-room Flexi Flats, private homeowners have fewer options to extract housing equity.

Private home owners will have to downsize or move into HDB dwellings in order that they may unlock their homes’ equity.

And while elderly friendly features will command higher demand over time, the social stigma associated with senior housing may also deter buyers from acquiring units from such projects.

Moreover, building adult communities that provide amenities and space to meet the needs of older residents such as those in the US may not be ideal in land-scarce Singapore, given the high land cost.

“If Singapore were to build such active adult communities vertically, it would only be affordable to individuals who are in middle-upper income bracket. The buyers are likely to come from the retiring private home owners, who tend to have higher expenditure,” it said.

With this, Edmund Tie & Con sees a possible business opportunity in building co-living spaces for the retiring singles, where residents can “tap into amenities such as free internet and maid service, while making new friends and creating new social experiences”.

“With IoT and the shift towards a shared economy, we are likely to see more shared services in co-living arrangements to reduce the cost of living,” it said.

“Notwithstanding, there is a need for the elderly to liquidate their existing property assets to finance such living arrangements and live comfortably.”


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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Greenest buildings in Singapore

Artist’s impression of the 150,000 sq ft Urban Park at Tanjong Pagar Centre. Source: GuocoLand

Singapore’s Garden City vision was started in the 1960s by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Thousands of trees were planted along roads and in housing estates to transform the city into a flourishing garden.

The country’s bold plan to go green has evolved over the years as environmental issues such as climate change take centre stage. For instance, more developers are now encouraged to adopt sustainability into their building designs.

At the recent PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore) 2017, developer GuocoLand was hailed as an exemplary innovator for its integrated development Tanjong Pagar Centre, which was fully completed in early 2017.

At 290m high, it is the tallest building in the Garden City and quite possibly the greenest too, picking up the Best Green Development prize for incorporating well-designed public spaces as well as sustainable and green amenities.

The project stands out for its 150,000 sq ft Urban Park, which is directly linked to Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Visitors can enjoy its lush greenery and take part in community events such as group exercise sessions or watch music performances.

Here’s a look at four other properties which have scored top marks for being green.


PARKROYAL on Pickering

PARKROYAL on Pickering

Dubbed the first eco-friendly hotel in Singapore, the project at Upper Pickering was completed in 2013. Developed by UOL Group, it features over 160,000 sq ft of sky gardens and achieves total energy savings of 3.5 million kilowatt hours per year. This is equivalent to the energy consumption of more than 8,500 households.




Completed in 2014, the 40-storey Grade A office building near Raffles Place MRT station is touted as one of the greenest commercial buildings in Singapore. Designed by Toyo Ito, more than half of the building’s façade is covered by plants. At the top sits a red and white sculptural petalled wind scoop that helps to draw in cooler air, and channels it to the floors below. 


The Criterion

The Criterion

The Criterion in Yishun comprises 505 executive condominium (EC) units spread across 10 blocks. CDL launched the project in 2015 and it boasts free-to-use electric bicycles with a solar charging station – a first for an EC project. This encourages residents to adopt a green mode of transport and reduces their carbon footprint.


Paya Lebar Quarter

Paya Lebar Quarter

The $ 3.2 billion mixed-use project by Lendlease in Paya Lebar is slated for completion in 2019 and offers more than 100,000 sq ft of green public spaces. Aside from high efficiency water fittings and more efficient air-conditioning systems, there will also be end-of-trip facilities and bicycle parking spaces to promote cycling among tenants.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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