Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Punggol Digital District to create 28,000 tech jobs; HDB to launch over 2,000 new waterfront flats in Punggol in August 2018 BTO exercise

Masterplan aims to transform 50ha area into hub for digital economy's key growth sectors
By Linette Lai, Health Correspondent and Toh Yong Chuan, Senior Correspondent, The Straits Times, 22 Jan 2018

When its first buildings are ready in five years, Punggol North could become something of a mini Silicon Valley in Singapore - a centre for digital and cyber-security industries that generates up to 28,000 digital economy jobs.

The masterplan for the 50ha Punggol Digital District was launched yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at Waterway Point mall, together with an exhibition on what the district would look like.

Speaking at the event, Mr Teo said the plan is to make Punggol "a hub for key growth sectors of the digital economy", and that could even involve moving government agencies, such as the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore - currently 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."

The district will also serve as a test bed for a slew of new features and planning practices.

The zoning rules - which affect land use and density - will be applied on a district level instead of on individual land parcels, giving developers more flexibility.

The area will also be car-lite, with infrastructure such as parking spaces located underground. That leaves the streets for pedestrians, cyclists and users of personal mobility devices.

It will be connected to other parts of Singapore by a host of new transport infrastructure, including the new Punggol Coast MRT station.

The Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) new campus will also be in the district, a move that Mr Teo said would create opportunities for students and faculty to exchange ideas with industry practitioners working there.

Punggol Digital District is a pilot project for what is being termed an "enterprise district", with the authorities studying if this model can be applied to other areas in future.

The new district is a collaboration among four agencies - 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.

Mr David Tan, assistant chief executive officer of JTC, said it will 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.

Part of Punggol Road to become heritage trail
By Toh Yong Chuan, Senior Correspondent, The Straits Times, 22 Jan 2018

A section of the iconic Punggol Road will be permanently closed to traffic, in a move to spruce up the area as the Punggol Digital District plan takes shape.

"Old Punggol Road will be transformed into a pedestrian walkway and a heritage trail," Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday as he launched the masterplan for the area.

The 1.3km heritage trail will link Punggol Waterway Park to the Punggol Point waterfront. The trees along the leafy Punggol Road will be preserved. The changes will allow people to rediscover Punggol on foot, said DPM Teo.

Besides more pedestrian paths, the roads and public transport network will also be improved.

The North East Line will be extended from Punggol MRT station. When ready by 2023, the new Punggol Coast MRT station will cut travel time to Punggol MRT station by 10 to 15 minutes.

A new road interchange linking Punggol and Pasir Ris will be ready by next year. By 2021, there will also be a new road interchange at Tampines Expressway and Seletar Link.

These improvements will ease the traffic situation and provide more public transport options for residents and workers, said DPM Teo, who is also the anchor minister for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

Residents welcomed not just the road infrastructure improvements but also the area's transformation.

Ms Lam Lee Choo, who has been living in Punggol for 11 years, said that the area's transformation will appeal to residents.

"Punggol residents are generally young. They will welcome the use of technology that improves their lives," said the 52-year-old housewife, who is a grassroots leader.

"An area they will look forward to is the use of technology to deliver government services, so they don't have to visit government offices."

* New waterfront district in Punggol to open, over 2,000 new flats to be launched in August 2018
Two seafront projects in new Punggol district will be ready by 2023 near new MRT station
By Rachel Au-Yong, Housing Correspondent, The Straits Times, 27 Aug 2018

More than 2,000 families can opt for waterfront living when two housing projects at a new Punggol district are launched later this month.

Occupying the north-eastern tip of Punggol town, where the land meets the Johor Strait, Punggol Point District has been envisioned as a smart and green town that pays homage to its heritage as a farming area, said the HDB yesterday.

The projects - the 1,172-unit Punggol Point Cove and 940-unit Punggol Point Woods - are expected to be completed by 2023.

They are located next to the new Punggol Coast MRT station, to open in the same year. The units are among some 17,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to be launched this year.

One of the key features of Punggol Point is a new heritage trail along Old Punggol Road, which was once the main transportation route for farmers and fishermen plying their wares from Punggol to Serangoon.

This will be pedestrianised and become a 1.5km trail offering a seamless connection from MyWaterway@Punggol to Punggol Jetty.

The heritage trail will have a 10m green buffer zone on both sides of the carriageway, preserving "the rustic ambience, green tunnel effect and undulating terrain of Old Punggol Road", said the HDB.

An old bus stop that once served the only two buses in the area has also been retained.

The HDB has also promised easy access to dining, retail and recreational facilities in the area through public transport, walking, cycling and, possibly, autonomous buses and on-demand shuttles in the future.

In addition, housing projects will be designed to allow residents and visitors to enjoy the seafront.

They will be integrated with the existing Punggol Promenade through green spaces and parks.

The transformation of the area, once rural farmland and rubber plantations, was cited by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally speech on Aug 19 as an example of long-term planning coming to fruition. He had unveiled the plans for a modern Punggol 11 years ago.

The BTO flats will be in a brand-new waterfront district - the fifth of seven planned for the town, the HDB said in a statement yesterday. Punggol Town will have 11 districts in total.

Some 25,700 flats in the first four waterfront districts have been offered across 31 BTO projects, with a close to 100 per cent take-up rate, the HDB said.

An exhibition on the plans for Punggol Point District will be held at the HDB Hub Sales Atrium from tomorrow. The public can visit the exhibition, and share what they would like to see along the heritage trail, said the HDB.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said the new flats are unique because they offer a sea view.

"Compared to the man-made waterway, this one offers a view of the open sea. It's not usual that we have this for new HDB flats."

Punggol resident Tracy Peh, 40, welcomed the trail, which she said would benefit current residents and future generations. Said the customer relations manager: "The heritage trail will help new generations get a sense of the changes."


** More jobs closer to smarter homes in Punggol, says Teo Chee Hean at ground-breaking of digital district on 17 Jan 2020
By Lester Wong, The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2020

When it is ready in 2023, the Punggol Digital District will provide residents living nearby with more jobs that are close to their greener and smarter homes, while also offering greater convenience, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

Mr Teo was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the 50ha district - about the size of 50 football fields - which will house a business park that is being developed by national industrial estate developer JTC.

The Housing Board homes in Punggol's Northshore District as well as Northshore Residences I and II are slated to be completed at the end of this year.

About 28,000 digital economy jobs are expected to be created in the digital district, including positions in artificial intelligence and cyber security.

"The entire Punggol Town with its housing precincts and the digital district will serve as a living lab for public agencies and companies to test new ways of living, working and delivering services," Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, said in his speech at Waterway Point mall in Punggol.

"Fundamentally, that is what a smart nation will be judged by - the improvements to the living experience of our people."

The digital district will be powered by a software platform called the Open Digital Platform that integrates various smart technologies such as robotics and the Internet of Things to gather information, including on transport conditions, energy and water consumption, noise and rainfall.

The real-time data provided by the Open Digital Platform can be used by public agencies, companies and students to test green technologies and sustainable urban solutions, among other things.

Buildings in the Punggol Digital District are expected to be about 30 per cent more energy efficient compared with standard commercial buildings.

Mr Teo added that the use of data analytics will also allow for better planning and management of Punggol Town to deliver public services more effectively.

"For example, we can study footfall data to find the best places to locate community facilities and retail spaces that most conveniently serve our residents," he said.

The Economic Development Board said on Thursday that it expects more than 32,000 jobs to be created from the $15.2 billion in investments it secured last year. Close to half of these jobs will be in the digital economy.

Mr Allen Lin, co-founder of retail video analytics start-up Trakomatic, was excited to hear about the Punggol Digital District and its digital platform.

"Technology evolves so quickly today, with consumers expecting applications of increasingly higher quality," he said.

"Plugging into such a platform could allow us to develop prototypes quickly using actual visitor and shopper behaviour data."

With the Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) new campus to be located in the district, the business park will also be the first in Singapore to pilot a flexible land-use arrangement aimed at fostering closer collaboration between students and businesses.

SIT's research labs and learning facilities could be located in JTC's business park buildings, while businesses' research and development facilities and start-up spaces could be housed on SIT's campus.

JTC said several of its business park buildings will be connected to the SIT campus via an elevated pedestrian walkway, similar to the one that links the IMM mall, the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East.

SIT is piloting various projects on this industry collaboration model on its current premises in Ang Mo Kio.

"This is so that when we eventually move to Punggol, our students will find working with industry in real-world environments second nature," said Associate Professor Steven Wong, SIT's director of projects in the provost's office.

HDB Launches 5,101 Flats in August 2018 BTO and ROF Exercise -28 Aug 2018

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