THE Government is studying how to use underground space for future development.
Senior Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said on Monday the Government should invest in the creation of new land and space.
‘Just as Singapore has reclaimed land in advance to support economic growth in the past, our subcommittee recommends that the government acts early to catalyse the development of underground space,’ she said at a press conference at which the Economic Strategies Committee released its report.
Somehow, this really brings out the dork in me. It reminds me of so many post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read where people have resorted to living in tunnels under the earth. Dorkiness aside, I can see this proving to be a very worthwhile step for Singapore in terms of development since the country has such a limited amount of horizontal space to work with.
Singapore could, in fact, use Montreal’s Underground City as an inspiration:
With over 32 km (20 mi) of tunnels spread over more than 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi), connected areas include shopping malls, apartment buildings, hotels, condominiums, banks, offices, museums, universities, seven metro stations, two commuter train stations, a regional bus terminal and the Bell Centre amphitheatre and arena. There are more than 120 exterior access points to the underground city. Each access point is an entry point to one of 60 residential or commercial complexes comprising 3.6 km2 (1.4 sq mi) of floor space, including 80% of all office space and 35% of all commercial space in downtown Montreal. In winter, some 500,000 people use the underground city every day. Because of its Underground City, Montreal is often referred to as the “Double-Decker City” or “Two Cities in One”.
Singapore already has quite a few underground tunnels that connect shopping centers together in the Orchard area as well as malls that descend for multiple stories below ground. These are both heavily used and readily accepted by the public. Having more structures underground that are used publicly like businesses, retail outlets and perhaps eating establishments, would integrate easily into Singapore’s landscape, especially since it offers a ‘cool’ factor. It could be called the Singapore Underground, and it could really be an extensive underground business and retail area. It could really play out well with the right architect at the wheel and could even prove to be a tourist attraction.
So, what will Singapore actually use these underground areas for? The government is just now starting talks about how to properly use the underground space but I think there are at least a few obvious answers, like storage and further transit links. Placing that sort of thing underground could free up Singapore’s limited surface area for more businesses or residences.
Hopefully Singapore sticks to just putting businesses underground. While I have a feeling that sometime in the future people might not mind living below ground, possibly with fake windows that project an image of sunny skies and green meadows (like in the offices at the beginning of the original Resident Evil movie), now is not that time. I think people still cherish the idea of living above ground, with cool breezes coming through their windows.