Commercialising underutilised carpark space, business centres in HDB blocks among suggestions for MND

Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC)

Commercialise underutilised carpark space

The upper levels of multi-storey carparks are often underutilised, said Professor Lim, who suggested that they can be used for businesses like laundromats.

In response, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann said that these may not be suitable for such use as retailers usually prefer locations with good pedestrian flow and visibility.

She added that other factors also have to be considered, like the businesses already planned for that area, but said she would be willing to consider specific proposals from Prof Lim.

Nominated MP Cheng Hsing Yao

Build-to-rent model

A build-to-rent housing model could be explored in Singapore, suggested Mr Cheng.

This would allow for a housing solution that potentially meets the needs of changing demographics, aspirations and lifestyles of people.

Mr Cheng also said that the build-to-rent model is an asset class sought after by many global institutional investors, and suggested that private global capital can be tapped to fund such an enterprise.

He suggested that the Government can review allowing the private sector to participate in housing solutions in an “active and responsible” manner.

Nominated MP Hoon Hian Teck. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Nominated MP Hoon Hian Teck

Business centres in housing blocks

With the pandemic normalising work from home, and such work arrangements set to stay post-pandemic, Professor Hoon suggested that the future design of housing blocks could seek to cater to such arrangements.

For instance, he suggested, a specially-designed office space, akin to a business centre, could be built in future Housing Board blocks to serve those without a conducive work environment at home.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Chong Kee Hiong. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC)

Market forces to decide land use

Land zoning has given developers and land owners clarity in Singapore’s urban transformation, but continuing this prescriptive approach would inhibit creativity and less nimble responses to market changes, said Mr Chong.

Noting the successful introduction of white zones, where market forces decide the eventual use of a piece of land from a pre-approved list, he suggested extending this to give the market more autonomy in how land or space is used.

He also urged more public involvement in the planning process as “myriad views to add to our collective wisdom”.

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