Is Singapore ‘green’ enough?

By Michael Lim / The Edge Property | December 8, 2015 10:00 AM SGT
Planning for the future of any city is not just about having tall high-tech buildings with futuristic designs, says Liu Thai Ker, chairman of Centre of Liveable Cities and senior director of RSP Architects Planners & Engineers. “It is also about usability, liveability and sustainability as well as being environmentally and ecologically friendly,” he says. Liu was speaking on the topic of “Future Cities” at Julius Baer’s Next Generation Summit on Nov 6.
Liu: I commissioned a study and found that it's more ecological friendly to put a 900mm
sunshade than to have vertical greenery
Singapore is well ahead in its planning for the next 30 years with the release in 2013 of its population white paper, land use plan and the URA master plan for the next 30 years, which also included the transport master plan. In mid-2013, URA also said it was exploring the possibility of large-scale underground developments. Last year, it called for a tender for consulting, seeking to “develop a comprehensive and holistic framework to enable more extensive use of underground space in Singapore”.
Going underground Singapore is already using underground spaces for shopping malls, underpasses as well as 12km of expressways and almost 80km of MRT lines. It has also used subterranean spaces for storage, for instance, JTC’s Jurong Rock Caverns, an underground storage facility for oil and petrochemical products. The Singapore Armed Forces has also relocated its Seletar East Ammo Depot to an underground ammunition facility in 2008. The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is currently building the Deep Tunnel Sewage System (DTSS), a massive integrated project to meet Singapore’s long-term clean water needs through the collection, treatment, reclamation and disposal of used water from industries, homes and businesses. Still, former National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is now Transport Minister, says, “There is scope to do more.”
Liu, on the other hand, does not believe that going underground is the answer for dealing with land scarcity. He reasons, “Even if people are willing to work or live underground, it would have to be developed at great expense. And it could take a while...