The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently unveiled its proposed concepts and strategies for Singapore’s future development over the next five decades and beyond. Among these concepts, two stand out as the most progressive: relocating jobs to be much closer to residential areas and shortening the lease terms of commercial and office spaces and certain regions to allow businesses to quickly adapt to fast-changing needs.
The proposals are derived from the year-long public engagement exercise that reviewed the city-state’s long-term land usage needs and strategies, taking into account future trends and challenges like flexible working arrangements and the nation’s ageing population. The exercise also considered factors like the continuous rise of e-commerce and evolving business models.
URA plans for flexible workspaces
To support innovation and the new requirements of the future economy, the URA plans to develop more flexible and attractive workspaces through ‘vertical zoning’. This concept entails integrating complementary but different uses into a single development. In this scenario, flexible workspaces – such as coworking office spaces for lease – will soon be placed in these multi-story buildings, along with residential spaces on the middle and upper floors. At the same time, clean industrial activities can take up the lower floors.
If this idea goes as planned, businesses that already use coworking spaces in their business model today will enjoy a much shorter commute since employees will be closer to their nearest branch, possibly just a few floors above or below them. With more and more workers looking for a nearby place to get away from working from home without having to go all the way downtown to the office, the prospect of having productivity-conducive office-like environments in the same building they live in is certain to win over the current and next generation of workers.
The URA is also looking into suitable locations in industrial areas, like Yishun and Kolam Ayer, to accommodate coworking spaces and other non-industrial uses like Food and Beverage (F&B) spaces. This strategy aims to provide greater flexibility for upcoming business models and promote more dynamic industrial developments.
Besides just relocating closer to where the employees reside, coworking spaces may become flexible spaces that can accommodate other purposes throughout the day. This is in accordance with the authority’s plan to develop ‘future-ready’ communities that can quickly adapt to unforeseen needs and the changing lifestyles of its residents. For example, coworking spaces could be repurposed to host community events and other uses nearby residents may require outside business hours or during emergencies.
As new homes get built closer to key amenities like job nodes, transportation routes, healthcare facilities, and more, the devised future locations of coworking spaces will surely round off the goal of the URA’s plans for Singapore’s future development. The authority also stated that they would continue to refine these strategies, concepts, and proposals to ensure they all remain relevant to the needs of Singapore and its people.
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