Urbanizing Singapore Smaller Islands

Torrisi & Procopio Architetti and PartnersUrbanizing the Smaller Islands_ Sustainable floating towns for the Singapore of Tomorrow

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Giuseppe Torrisi

Director at Torrisi & Procopio Architetti

July 4, 2023

We are pleased to share a preview of the proposal we have recently presented to the Ministry of National Development (MND) of Singapore.

Our urban concept suggests viable urban planning solutions to face population growth in a land-scarce city like Singapore and concerns the use of very large floating structures instead of land reclamation for the urban development of the city.

PROPOSAL FOR A METHOD

How to face population growth in a land-scarce city like Singapore? To answer this question we have identified two ambitious ways to support Singapore’s long-term development needs:

1. A better use of the areas on mainland through the relocation offshore of some industrial and military activities with the aim of freeing up areas for some new high-density mixed-use developments.

2. The possibility of urbanizing the smaller islands of Singapore by means of mixed-use developments, both on land and floating.

This new expansion of the city should be planned according to the same principles and rules that have characterized the urban planning of the modern Singapore. The continuity with the plans of the past is essential to ensure that the new developments are harmonious and that the new parts of the city are vibrant and liveable.

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PROTOTYPE OF A CITY*

The prototype of a city that inspired the planning of modern Singapore is an organic system consisting of multiple hierarchical cells. According to this model Singapore was¬†¬†divided in 5 Regions, in turn divided in 26 New Towns, then in Neighborhoods and¬†Precints. In this system each region, new town, neighborhood and precint has its own centre. Thanks this prototype, Singapore was built according to a vision of a ‚Äúunique tropical city of excellence. A city that is healthy and beautiful, unique and¬†gracious, with a distint character‚ÄĚ.

This is the reason why we think this model should be followed for the future plans of the city and, in particular, the planning unit of the New Town must be considered as the reference model for the future expansion of the city.

  • REFERENCE BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Dr. Liu Thai Ker - CHALLENGES AND REFORMS IN URBAN GOVERNANCE Insights from the development experience of China and Singapore

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URBANIZING THE SMALLER ISLANDS

According to the aforementioned prototype of a city, a NEW TOWN is the core concept of the prototype, the key of successof an urban plan that works very well. It is a self-sufficient part of the city with a minimum land area of 15 sq.km and a population of about 150,000/300,000 inhabitants.

Thinking about a future on land/floating development for the smaller islands surrounding Singapore and considering their size, shape and their peculiarity of small archipelagos, it seems that each group of these smaller islands can be the ideal location for a future New Town.

Each of the 3 groups of islands (Western Islands, Southern Island, Eastern Islands) could encompass an area large enough to allow the planning of a New Town built partly on land and partly floating.

Such a development consisting of 3 New Towns would ensure accommodation for at least 720,000 new inhabitants in total.

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The SOUTHERN ISLANDS are part of the Central Region of Singapore.

The future New Town of about 70,000 residents consists of seven neighborhoods of 10,000 inhabitants and will be connected to the mainland by the extension of the Sentosa Express and by the already existing ferry service from Marina Bay, which should be appropriately enhanced.

As part of the Central Region and due to the proximity to the  Central Business District and to Sentosa, this development should be strongly characterized by touristic, economic activities and by medium-high level residential areas.

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The WESTERN ISLANDS development is part of the West Region of Singapore and includes BUKOM ISLAND, PALAU ULAR, SEMAKAU ISLAND, SEBAROK ISLAND while the Western Islands Industrial development of about 10 sq.km includes SUDONG ISLAND, PAWAI ISLAND, SENANG ISLAND and will house all the industrial structures removed from Bukom and Sebarok Islands.

Both the industrial and the mixed-use developments will be connected to the mainland by the existing ferry service from Pasir Panjang and a ferry service from the Southern New Town will be also provided.

The new development will consists of 15 new neighborhoods built both on land and on water.

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The EASTERN ISLANDS development is part of the North-East Region of Singapore and includes  PALAU UBIN and TEKONG ISLAND. The future New Towns will be connected to the mainland by the KPE extension and by the existing ferry services from Changi.

The new development at Palau Ubin consists of 10 new neighborhoods built partly on land and partly on water. It is a  low-impact urban plan with low population density, conceived with the aim of preserving the lush nature of the island and with the ambition of creating a modern garden city where all the districts are surrounded by parks and linked to each other through green paths.

The huge development at Tekong Island consists of 40 new neighborhoods mainly developed on land. The floating developments are located in the two large basins to the North-West and South-East of the island. Just like the other islands, also Tekong has a system of parks that links the neighborhoods to each other. Given the size of the island, this means kilometers of connections and attractions in the lush greenery, again in accordance with a model of a modern garden city.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Basically, our proposal of urbanizing the smaller islands around Singapore is based on the idea of three new developments (New Towns), built both on land and on water. We wanted to avoid the model of a floating city developed far form the coast, as we think that isolated floating towns would not be well integrated with the rest of the city and for this reason probabily they would not work. We think to be successful a pilot floating development should be conceived as a part of a larger land based urban development.

What kind of city do we expect from the proposed development? Of course something very similar to the current Singapore built on land. A vibrant, liveable, tropical garden city.

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Giuseppe Torrisi with Daniela Procopio

(Torrisi & Procopio Architetti)