Singapore is soon to have its own mini version of Silicon Valley. Located in Punggol North, the new enterprise district will be a centre for digital and cyber-security industries. When its first buildings are opened progressively in five years, it is expected to generate up to 28,000 digital economy jobs.
Deputy Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean unveiled the masterplan for the 50ha Punggol Digital District on Sunday (Jan 21) at Waterway Point mall, together with a display exhibition on what the district would look like, Straits Times reports.
Speaking at the event, Mr Teo stated that Punggol is planned to be a new hub for key growth sectors of the country’s digital economy in the near future. To achieve this goal, it could even involve moving government agencies, including the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore which was currently resided in Maxwell Road, to the district.
“This will help create a new cluster of cyber-security and technology firms in Punggol. Our residents can look forward to many exciting jobs in the future close to home,” he added.
The pilot project of Punggol Digital District will also serve as a test bed for a slew of new features and planning practices. For example, the zoning rules will be applied on a district level instead of on individual land parcels. As such planning affects land use and density, it will provide developers more flexibility in designing the landscape.
This area will also be car-lite, meaning that infrastructure such as parking spaces are located underground. That leaves the streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, as well as other users of personal mobility devices. The district will also be connected to other parts of Singapore by a host of new transport infrastructure, including the new Punggol Coast MRT station.
Furthermore, the district will also have new campus for the Singapore Institute of Technology’s (SIT). Mr Teo said this move would create opportunities for both students and faculty to exchange ideas with industry practitioners working there. The authorities are studying to see if this model of enterprise district can be applied to other areas in the future.
The new district is a collaboration among four agencies in Singapore, including the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Infocomm Media Development Authority, JTC and SIT. They envision a cluster of buildings managed by centralised systems handling waste collection, cooling, and logistics for the whole area. It could even be cooled by smart thermostats that can detect changes outdoors and adjust the temperature indoors accordingly. Flanking the area will be Housing Board flats, such as those in the upcoming Northshore Edge development, which is slated to be completed in 2021.
Assistant chief executive officer of JTC, David Tan said that they will be be applying lessons it has learnt from other developments it has been involved in. This includes striking the right balance between work and leisure spaces, and even looking at how closely spaced buildings are.
For example, buildings at the International Business Park are “very standalone” compared with those in one-north, said Mr Tan. Both developments are operated by JTC. “At one-north, the buildings are much closer together and so you have more interaction,” he said.