Being a tiny red dot with limited land resources, Singapore might soon have to make use of the space below its land to bring in more facilities for its residents. Singapore’s total population stands at slightly above $5.6 million and this number is expected to rise gradually over the years, the authorities are currently making plans to accommodate the population growth by creating more subterranean space.
Over the last few decades, the government had been reducing issues of traffic chaos and overcrowding by expanding the land size through land reclamation and building high-rise towers. Based on a recently released draft development plan of Singapore, the authorities are looking to create more infrastructure facilities underground for transport, utilities and storage purposes. By doing so, the space on the surface can be freed up and be used for commercial, residential, industrial and green space.
According to the URA, A 3D technology will be applied to create maps for the subterranean and 3 different zones will be targeted first. At the moment, there is no plan for housing to be placed underground. Other than Singapore, Country such as Finland and Canada had successfully built underground tunnels that are used for transport, carparks, shopping mall, etc.
In the past, reclaiming the land from the sea has always been Singapore’s main way of expanding the land, however, due to its negative impact on the environment, Singapore is not able to purchase and import sand for reclamation. The import and purchase of sand is an expensive cost to Singapore especially when land reclamation gets further into the deep sea, and land mining also affects the riverbanks and beaches. By removing the sand, the riverbanks and beaches will be eroded and this could easily lead to flooding. The ecosystems and wildlife will also be badly affected. Hence the sale of sand to Singapore is also banned in some countries.
And therefore, the authorities of Singapore are looking to build more infrastructure underground hoping to expand the usage of the land. In addition, Singapore is a tropical country; with more underground space, the usage of air-conditioning could be reduced and this in turn, save more energy. However, underground construction does have its challenges as well. For instance, usually, removal of the rocks underneath through blasting is required, however these might not be achievable in the downtown areas.
It is believed that creating a subterranean future is no doubt one of the methods to tackle the space constraints issue in Singapore, but Singapore will definitely need more new methods so that more space can be created to cater to its increasing population and demand for more facilities.
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