Singapore URA announces new draft Master Plan

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has unveiled key proposals under the Draft Master Plan 2019 (DMP19) that focus on planning sustainable, green, inclusive neighbourhoods, rejuvenating familiar places and creating capacity for our future.

The exhibition showcases the following key strategies in DMP19:

a. Planning liveable, inclusive neighbourhoods
b. Developing economic gateways for the future
c. Rejuvenating familiar places sensitively
d. Building a resilient city
e. Re-imagining our future

Planning liveable, inclusive neighbourhoods

New housing concepts and amenities

Future residential precincts will continue to be sustainable, green, community-centric and car-lite, with easy access to a wide range of public spaces and amenities to meet residents’ needs. Co-locating amenities in one-stop hubs such as the upcoming Bukit Canberra and Punggol Town Hub makes it easier for residents to shop, dine, and engage in family-bonding activities all under one roof.

Agencies are also studying age-friendly designs for neighbourhoods so our seniors can remain independent and healthy in familiar surroundings as they age.

Plan for facilities to meet changing needs

The demand for facilities such as polyclinics, childcare and eldercare centres will evolve as the demographic makeup of housing towns changes. Hence, data analytics and geospatial capabilities are used to examine changing demographic trends, usage patterns, and user profiles to help agencies make decisions on where to locate new facilities, or convert existing ones to cater for new needs. This ensures that we continue to meet changing needs with adequate provision of amenities and services that are accessible to residents.

More greenery and play spaces

Our island-wide network of play corridors, parks, sports facilities and green spaces will be expanded. In future, there will be about 1,000 ha more parks and park connectors. Parks will be connected by key recreational corridors such as the Round Island Route, Rail Corridor, Kallang River, Coast-to-Coast Trail, Bukit Timah-Rochor green walk, as well as a growing network of park connectors. This includes the Greater Rustic Coast, which is the Changi to Lim Chu Kang segment of the Round Island Route. Linking areas of heritage, biodiversity and recreation, this 50 km stretch allows visitors to experience numerous settings along its length.

In future, over 90 per cent of households will be within walking distance of a park. More Active Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters projects will be completed over the next five years.

Given Singapore’s limited land area, we have adopted a balanced approach to development and nature conservation. Land has been set aside for greenery, including four Nature Reserves and 20 Nature Areas, so that representative sites of our key native ecosystems are retained. Greenery and biodiversity will continue to be integrated into our urban environment, along our streets and waterways, and on our buildings.

Developing economic gateways for the future economy

Three major gateways in the west, north and east are being planned to support our economic growth, and bring jobs and amenities closer to homes.

The western gateway, which comprises Jurong Lake District, Jurong Innovation District and Tuas Terminal, will see improved transport connectivity with the future Jurong Region (JRL) and Cross Island Lines (CRL). Located near to two major universities, the Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, the western gateway can boost synergies through knowledge sharing and collaborations between industries and academia.

Anchored by the Northern Agri-Tech and Food Corridor, the northern gateway is the portal to growth opportunities in the agri-tech and food sector, with the new Agri-Food Innovation Park at Sungei Kadut catalysing innovation in the agri-tech ecosystem. As Woodlands Regional Centre continues growing as the largest business node in the north, it is well-positioned to serve as this corridor’s strategic centre with new spaces for business, industry, research and development, learning, and innovation to be added over the next 15 years. Punggol Digital District, housing key growth sectors in the digital economy and the Singapore Institute of Technology, will become a vibrant and inclusive district of the future.

Capitalising on the expansion of Changi Airport, the eastern gateway at Changi will host a myriad of aviation-related businesses at the Changi Aviation Park. It will also host an innovative lifestyle business cluster at Changi City, comprising the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Changi Business Park, and the future Changi East Urban District at the doorstep of Terminal 5.

Rejuvenating familiar places

Familiar places such as the Central Area, mature towns, and major recreational corridors will be rejuvenated, even as we retain parts of their unique heritage. There are also opportunities to inject unique, short-term uses for vacant State properties and land to bring about greater vibrancy and create public spaces for more to enjoy.

Central Area

The Central Area is home to our Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay; retail and entertainment clusters at Orchard and Singapore River; as well as arts, cultural and heritage areas such as our Civic District, Bras Basah.Bugis, and the historic districts.

Increased global competition, changing trends and lifestyle aspirations mean that our city centre needs to maintain its competitive edge and dynamism through continued growth and rejuvenation.

To this end, we will increase live-in population within the Central Area by planning for a variety of homes and amenities in areas such as Downtown, Marina South and Rochor so more people can live near workplaces and amenities.

Orchard Road will be enhanced as a lifestyle destination that offers differentiated experiences for each sub-precinct. The iconic shopping belt will also be enhanced as a lush, green, urban corridor that connects the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park.

In addition, the arts, cultural, and heritage precinct comprising the Civic District, Bras Basah.Bugis, and Fort Canning will be expanded and enhanced with improvements to the public space and made more vibrant through place making.

For the CBD, the vision is to continue to transform it into a well-connected and vibrant mixed-use district offering a dynamic and innovative business environment.

Rejuvenate existing areas, retain heritage

Besides the Central Area, new housing and amenities to serve future residents will be added in areas such as Bayshore, Dakota Crescent, and Farrer Park. Future public housing at Dakota Crescent will be planned to take into consideration the six retained Singapore Improvement Trust blocks nearby and the courtyard space, with ideas from heritage groups, former residents and community leaders woven into the future plans.

At Farrer Park, new housing will give more options for home buyers looking to live near the city. Familiar landmarks such as the Farrer Park Swimming Pool and former boxing gym will be retained to celebrate the sporting heritage of the area. In keeping with its heritage, a sports field and park will be integrated with future housing so the community can bond over sports and recreational activities.

Rail Corridor

Approximately one million people live within 1 km of the Rail Corridor. By 2021, we can look forward to a continuously connected Rail Corridor. Neighbouring estates, such as the Queenstown area, Buona Vista, Beauty World and Sungei Kadut will progressively be rejuvenated as well to bring communities closer to the Corridor.

To retain the heritage and shared memories of the area, the former Station Master’s Quarters opposite the Bukit Timah Railway Station will be conserved. The former Bukit Timah Fire Station building will also be conserved, and the site will be transformed into a gateway node with a visitor centre for the nature and heritage attractions in the area.

Building a resilient city

Faced with an increasingly complex environment, we need to build a resilient city by continually reviewing and enhancing plans to stay relevant to our people’s needs, and be ready to adapt to changing trends.

Going underground

One strategy to make better use of our land is to free up surface land for people-centric uses by relocating utilities, transport, storage and industrial facilities underground.

To improve the efficient and effective use of underground space, we tap on 3D technology to facilitate upfront planning of the underground space. We are rolling out 3D underground maps for Marina Bay, Jurong Innovation District and Punggol Digital District, to show the underground uses and planning requirements in these three pilot areas, and make them transparent to developers and building owners. This 3D underground plan will be expanded to include more areas in future.

Re-imagining our future

Even as we plan land uses for the next 10 to 15 years, agencies are also looking ahead for the longer term. The redevelopment of two key areas—Greater Southern Waterfront and Paya Lebar Air Base—will help us meet future growth needs.

Greater Southern Waterfront

The Greater Southern Waterfront spans across the southern coastline from Pasir Panjang to Marina East. In future, after the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal relocate to Tuas, about 1,000 ha of land will be freed up for development. Together with other areas like Keppel Club and Sentosa, the total area of the Greater Southern Waterfront will be about 2,000 ha. Some of the Greater Southern Waterfront’s development will start within the next five to 10 years with new developments at Pasir Panjang Power District and the Keppel Club site.

The Pasir Panjang/Labrador area will be rejuvenated as a significant waterfront node along the Greater Southern Waterfront. Singapore’s first 230 kV underground substation, integrated with a commercial building, will be developed next to the Labrador Park MRT station.

Nearer the waterfront, the Pasir Panjang Power District can leverage its unique industrial heritage and be given a new lease of life as a lifestyle and heritage destination. Agencies are exploring various strategies to realise this, including the adaptive reuse of the former power station buildings and opening up the grounds for public access. The new uses will be sensitive to the adjacent Labrador Nature Reserve. The Power District will be connected to the rest of the Greater Southern Waterfront via the new Pasir Panjang Linear Park. URA and the Singapore Land Authority will be launching a competition in April 2019 for members of public to contribute ideas on how the precinct can be transformed into a lifestyle destination along the Greater Southern Waterfront.

The site occupied by the Keppel Club will be redeveloped for housing after the current lease expires. With its waterfront location and convenient access to the Telok Blangah and Labrador Park MRT stations, it offers unique possibilities for new homes to be developed. Development of the site will be sensitively carried out taking into consideration the nearby Belayer Creek.

Transforming Paya Lebar Air Base

In the longer term, Paya Lebar Air Base will relocate and free up 800ha of land. The site and its surroundings can be transformed into a highly liveable and sustainable new town, with new jobs and amenities for future residents. Future transport connectivity for residents in the adjoining areas will improve as they will be able to shorten their routes by travelling through the future town, instead of going around the site.

Some of the preliminary ideas to transform the area include:

a. Retain the area’s rich aviation heritage as Singapore’s second international airport after Kallang Airport, by re-purposing the former airport buildings and parts of the runway into vibrant community spaces;
b. Foster healthy communities by creating a network of parks and open spaces and offering a variety of leisure options;
c. Build highly liveable, sustainable, walkable and integrated mixed-use neighbourhoods for future residents.

Later in the year, URA will hold an ideas competition to seek public’s views and aspirations for the site.

Exhibition and feedback

The Draft Master Plan 2019 exhibition is held at The URA Centre Atrium at 45 Maxwell Road from 27 March 2019 to 24 May 2019.

To learn more about the Draft Master Plan, sign up for guided tours of the exhibition with URA volunteers, and download DMP19 flyers for specific planning areas, visit


About Damian Holmes 3297 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at