Heng: Urban design to become more vital in Singapore

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Singapore needs to continue finding "innovative and sustainable ways" to improve its urban design, given its space constraints and competing needs for residences, industries, leisure and amenities, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

This was one of three areas, on top of productivity and technology, that the Republic can capitalise on, he said at the launch of a three-day event on architecture and building services at Marina Bay Sands.

"The growth of Asia will result in rapid urbanisation and more demand for infrastructure and buildings," said Mr Heng. "Beyond Singapore, there are growing opportunities to meet new needs in Asean and other parts of Asia, and in the world, and to cooperate across borders."

Asean is projected to become the fourth largest single market by 2030, he said, and Asia is expected to continue being the world's fastest growing region.

There are three areas Singapore can target to become a more liveable city, he added.

First, good urban design will become even more important as it can boost a city's character and identity in an increasingly globalised world.

Second, advancements in urban design will require more productive methods, he said.

There has been good progress on this front, with site productivity in the construction sector improving by 12 per cent from 2010 to last year, he added, referring to the amount of floor area completed for each man day.

Construction companies are also taking on more efficient means, such as pre-fabrication, said Mr Heng.

Third, Singapore needs to keep up with the accelerating pace of technological advancement.

"To continue building Singapore into a green, highly liveable and smart city, our stakeholders in our design and built environment and facilities management must come together and collaborate," said Mr Heng.