COS 2021: Urban Rejuvenation and Land Flexibility

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: Chairman, for our limited land area, Singapore’s planning paradigm has been one of maximising the intensity of land use. COVID-19’s economic impact may mean a need to re-evaluate our planning policy. The Minister for National Development has likewise noted the same in an earlier statement, that while it remains to be seen if the shift seen in COVID-19 will persist in the new normal, as technology changes and advances, there is a need to take a good hard look at land use needs for the future.

For example, the circuit breaker period has also shown the viability of working from home, which reduces the need for traditional single use commercial buildings and areas.

Land use is governed largely by the URA Concept Plan and Master Plan, the latter of which is reviewed every five years. However, beyond absolute land use designations and fixed plot ratios, such planning can arguably have more flexibility, considering the blurring of lines between different building use types, the prevalence of mixed use developments and higher frequency of building repurposing.

I recognise that the CBD Incentive Scheme and the Strategic Development Incentive Scheme were introduced with the aim of encouraging the rejuvenation of the CBD and other strategic areas in Singapore. The schemes were implemented from 27 March 2019 for a period of five years from the date of gazette for Master Plan 2019. Two years after they were introduced, how many developments have fulfilled the conditions of these schemes? Is the Government re-evaluating the conditions of the scheme to adapt to the post COVID-19 landscape today? And would the Government consider extending the rejuvenation schemes across the island to recognise and encourage greater creativity and flexibility in maximising the best use of our land and buildings?

Ministry of National Development
4 March 2021

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