SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is using special 3D technology to study the underground as a strategic resource, it said on Wednesday (Mar 27) at the launch of its Draft Master Plan 2019.
The master plan is a blueprint that guides Singapore's development over the next 10 to 15 years and is reviewed every five years.
URA said it has rolled out 3D underground maps for Marina Bay, Jurong Innovation District and Punggol Digital District, and plans to expand the pilot to include more areas.
Called the Special and Detailed Control Plan (SCDP), the map shows planned underground uses for each district in 3D, which can help protect planning intention.
"The underground plan is part of our strategy to create spaces for the future and create capacity for growth. Providing the plans for the underground provides transparency to the developers. This is more for the shallow underground, but we are also looking at plans for the deeper caverns. That's for deeper utilities and structures that will go underground," said Ms Hwang Yu-Ning, chief planner at URA.
The authority is studying the possibility of freeing up surface land for people-centric uses and relocating utilities, transport, storage and industrial facilities to the underground.
An example of this, she said, is the new substation in the Labrador, Pasir Panjang area, which has the capacity to power more than two public housing towns. Building the substation underground frees up three hectares of land.
"The 230kV substation will go underground and that frees up ... about 3ha of land on top for a future office development. It will also free up the space for other people to enjoy rather than look at utilities above ground," Ms Hwang added.
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Depending on the depth, the purposes for underground spaces may vary. In shallower depths, underground connections and MRT stations can be built. Deeper spots such as the Jurong Rock Caverns can store liquid hydrocarbons like gas oil and crude oil.
There are two existing caverns, and JTC and PUB are conducting cavern studies. Cavern areas currently under study are Kent Ridge Hill, Tanjong Kling, Jurong West and Gali Batu.