1. A new skyline
Integrated resort city Marina Bay Sands (MBS) recently announced it would add a fourth building to sit adjacent to its current three towers. The new tower will feature 1,000 luxury suites and a sky garden with a swimming pool, a 15,000-seater indoor entertainment arena and additional convention and exhibition spaces.
Expert view: Moshe Safdie, Architect behind MBS and newly opened Jewel
“We are about to see a major change. It will be ushered in by a revolution in transportation and new sources of renewable energy – a new sustainable approach to the built environment. As architecture recognises the fundamental needs of our species for light, air, privacy, identity and community life, the cities of 2030 could be green cities where landscape, nature and urbanism are integrated, where mobility is enhanced and where community life and the public realm take on the richness and diversity of the places of old.
“To that, the Marina Bay Sands expansion builds upon the innovation and success of the original complex, aiming to provide exciting public spaces that integrate multiple features into a single experience that is accessible by the city network. For example, there will be a music arena, bringing to Singapore programming that has never been seen before.”
2. Smart housing
Tengah town will be the first housing estate in Singapore to be planned with smart technologies, energy and water conservation systems and community gardens. It will also boast a 700m-long, 40m-wide farmway designed to allow residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. The first two of five residential projects will reportedly be ready by 2027, while the whole development housing 42,000 flats is set to take 20 years to complete.
306 kilometres: Length of park connector routes in 2017
3. A forest hotel
Come 2023, you’ll be able to stay in a green resort right in the heart of the Mandai wildlife district’s tropical rainforest. Designed to be unobtrusive, this 338-room property by the Banyan Tree Group will have 24 seedpod-shaped treehouses, camping options and elevated walkways for a truly immersive experience. To minimise the environmental impact, the resort will only occupy areas formerly used for the Singapore Zoo’s back-of-house facilities, plant greenery on rooftops, elevate buildings wherever possible to enable easy passage to wildlife and employ natural ventilation and solar energy.
4. Self-sufficient floating cities
Land has always been a scarcity on this small island, so some are looking to the water to house Singapore’s growing population. Japanese construction giant Shimizu Corporation has plans to build an eco-friendly floating city dubbed the Green Float in the near future. Designed to look like lily pads, the clusters of artificial circular “islands” would each measure 3km in diameter and feature a 1km-high tower in the middle. Each island would house up to 50,000 people, with homes at the top of the tower, offices in the middle and vegetable farms at the bottom. It is estimated they will take around a decade to construct.
5. Garden City reimagined
Singapore’s National Parks Board is counterbalancing the upcoming slate of new residential building projects by focusing their efforts on strengthening the nation’s rainforests as well as facilitating regeneration in secondary forests. By introducing buffer green spaces, there’ll still be plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature within the Garden City. The first of these nature sites includes the Rifle Range Nature Park. Opening next year, it will allow visitors to experience the canopies of a regenerating secondary forest through an elevated walkway. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, the 24km historical railway line, better known as the Rail Corridor, is also due to reopen in phases as a recreational site throughout 2021.
400 kilometres: Planned length of park connectors in 2030, along with 180 kilometres of Nature Ways
It features enhanced habitats, lookout decks, a heritage gallery in the conserved Bukit Timah Railway Station and community spaces. Set to be completed by mid-2022, the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat will house a strategically placed nature trail that will allow visitors to watch migratory birds undisturbed. To complete the green experiences old and new, a 150km continuous park connector has been conceptualised to wind around Singapore, linking the numerous parks and park connectors. This Round Island Route is being developed progressively, but is expected to be completed by 2035.
Expert view: Subaraj Rajathurai, Naturalist and consultant at Strix Wildlife Consultancy
“We’re going to have some major projects happening, like building big new towns, which will have a significant impact, and it’s important we plan for the green areas in between. We have a lot of wildlife and they need to not be pushed out of the areas we’re developing. [We must] build a network they can utilise. If you look at Sri Lanka, they have the most successful population of Asian elephants and leopards, and that’s because they link all the national parks together so the animals can roam.”
“It’s important in Singapore because we have all these highways, so if we don’t plan for proper wildlife crossings to be incorporated into our development of roads then we haven’t moved forward. The rest of the world – especially smaller nations and cities – is watching how Singapore resolves this. This is one more area where we can lead by example.”
6. New sky-scrapers
Illustrations by André Wee
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This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine