Planning for Singapore’s Future – The Concept Plan and the Master Plan


Like most things in Singapore the way land is first released for use, and then used is all part of a larger plan, driving forward the governments vision for the island, its society and welfare of its people and the economy. Most people talk about, and know of the Master Plan, but fewer people have heard of or understand the guiding hand behind that – the Concept Plan. So what exactly are they, and how do they differ?



The Concept Plan

This is the overriding strategic plan for all of Singapore’s land use and transportation. It covers a very broad spectrum and deals with the next forty to fifty years. It has three overarching aims, namely to ensure that there is sufficient land available to cope with the forecasted population changes, and the challenges that that poses; to meet all the requirements to ensure a robust economic performance over that period, while at the same time providing a high quality living, working and recreational environment for the nation’s population. To this end, the concept plan is reviewed every ten years, to ensure it is kept on track in an uncertain and often unpredictable world.


The Concept Plan
The Concept Plan (Source : URA)

The fist concept plan was produced in 1971, and it was that that laid out the plans for the new towns that became a feature in the following decades. One of the biggest challenges for the plan, is finding the right balance between housing, business and industry, retail, community amenities as well as parks, green spaces and recreation facilities, bearing in mind there is a very limited amount of land available, compared with most countries.



The Master Plan

The master plan actually started life in 1958, thirteen years before the concept plan was born. Whereas the concept plan deals in the long term, the master plan concentrates on the medium term development of the country, and sets out the detailed plans for the next ten to fifteen years, though still obviously adhering to the strategy outlined in the concept plan. It is the master plan that lays out the permissible land use for all released pockets of land, as well as the density for new developments on the island.


The Master Plan
The Master Plan that shows part of the Orchard District (Source : URA)

Its remit is the same, i.e. to ensure that all Singaporeans can enjoy a high level quality of life, while providing an environment where the nation can flourish, as a society and economically.  The master plan is reviewed every five years, once again to ensure that it is still in line with the national and international situation.


Public consultation makes up a large part of the process when formulating and reviewing the plan, with regular public consultations, forums and discussions carried out island wide, to ensure that those tasked with coming up with the strategy are fully aware of the publics concerns and hopes.





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