The project has proven a tabula rasa for urban planners advocating green design principles and “smart” technology, according to Chong Fook Loong, group director for research and planning at Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB), the agency overseeing the country’s public housing.
“Tengah is a clean slate,” he said in a video interview, explaining that roads, parking and utilities are being pushed beneath the town center. “We’re going for the ideal concept of segregation of traffic, (with) everything underground and then the ground level totally freed up for pedestrians — for people. So, it’s a very safe environment for all.
“We want a town that allows walking and cycling in a very user-friendly manner,” he added, saying that cycling has “taken off” in Singapore in the “last three to five years especially.”
The master plan will see the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, while the streets are also being “futureproofed” to accommodate emerging technologies, Chong said.
“When we planned the road network, we envisaged a future where autonomous vehicles and self-driving vehicles will become a reality,” he said.
Cooler by design
Although comparatively small, with a population of under 6 million people, Singapore’s per-capita emissions are higher than those of the UK, China, and neighboring Malaysia, according to the country’s National Climate Change Secretariat.
That’s due, in part, to air conditioning, which accounts for more than a third of typical household energy consumption. Global warming will only exacerbate this dependence. The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has predicted that, by the end of this century, average daily temperatures in the city-state may be at least 34.1 degrees Celsius (93.4 degrees Fahrenheit) “almost every day” during the eight warmest months of the year.