Central Area

Key Strategies For The Central Area

Building a vibrant downtown area remains one of URA’s core tasks as we work to realise Master Plan 2014. We are working to make our planning strategies for the Central Area a reality when planning the new Marina South District and imagining the possibilities for the Greater Southern Waterfront.

Sustaining a Dynamic Centre – Introducing Mixed Use Areas and Housing

The Central Area will continue to be a dynamic city centre where job and business opportunities abound, where homes are short walks away from workplaces, and with entertainment and play options for all. However, we are also working to revitalised the CBD with an increasingly diverse mix of residential, hotel and retail uses in new commercial developments.

In addition, more housing will be built in city locations such as the CBD, Marina Bay, Marina South, River Valley, Pearl’s Hill, and the Ophir-Rochor area. Each of these developments will be within a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk to transport nodes, shops, restaurants, cultural attractions, and recreational spaces.

Sustaining a Dynamic Centre – Introducing Mixed Use Areas and Housing

Connecting People and Places

Over the next decade up to 2030, developments in the Central Area will be within an average of 5-minutes walking distance from an MRT station. A network of dedicated cycling paths will be also implemented in the Central Area, to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transport downtown.

To complement the public transport network, efforts will be made to enhance the "last mile" of the commuter's journey. Through the creation of attractive streetscapes and sheltered pedestrian links, walking to a public transport node or any other destination in the city will be a more enjoyable experience. 29 kilometres of underground links have been planned within the city to improve accessibility and allow pedestrians to move around comfortably in all-weather and connect more buildings seamlessly with MRT stations.

Connecting People and Places

Creating a Liveable and Sustainable City

Singapore aspires to be a City-in-a-Garden. While the city already enjoys clean air, water, and green streetscapes, we will continue to improve urban diversity, add greenery, encourage the use of public transport, and promote energy efficiency.

  • Eco-friendly buildings – Individual developments will be encouraged to be more energy efficient and adopt eco-features e.g. rainwater collection and greywater recycling. Principles of air flow will also be incorporated into urban design to create cooler streets.
  • Ample Greenery - Supportive policies are in place to expand our green spaces through the provision of more sky parks and vertical greenery. Through the “LUSH” programme, new developments in Marina Bay and key growth areas are to provide 100% greenery replacement of their original site areas. 236 hectares of parks, promenades, and park connectors have been also set aside within the Central Area, which will eventually allow every Central Area development to be within a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk to a park, promenade, or public space.

    Ample Greenery
  • A Dual-Use Waterfront - The Marina Barrage has turned Marina Bay into Singapore’s first city-centre reservoir and a haven for recreational water activities. The Marina Catchment Area formed by the Marina Barrage is the island's largest and most urbanised water catchment, with an area on-sixth the size of Singapore.


A Placemaking Mission

To build upon the urban design and conservation efforts in our city, we will focus on placemaking and place management to make the differentiate districts, making them more delightful and memorable. URA currently works with the private stakeholders and other public agencies to develop kaleidoscopic programmes of fun activities for each of the Marina Bay, Singapore River, Orchard Road, Bras Basah-Bugis, and Civic Districts.

The Central Area possesses a wealth of distinguished buildings and storied neighbourhoods as part of the Civic District. The city’s built and natural heritage enriches the daily urban experience, with community and cultural activities helping to strengthen a sense of belonging for the people.

A Placemaking Mission


A Civic And Cultural District By The Bay

The Civic District is known as the historic birthplace of modern Singapore and is part of the Town Plan created by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822. It is located on the banks of the Singapore River, adjacent to the founding point of our modern metropolis at the river’s mouth. The area features some of Singapore’s more notable historic buildings and spaces, including Empress Place, the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, the Old Parliament House, Queen Elizabeth Walk, and the Padang.

The previous Master Plan for the Civic District was prepared in the 1980s. Since then, several waterfront attractions such as Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Merlion Park and the ArtScience Museum have been added to the collection of civic and cultural institutions, including the Asian Civilisations Museum (the former Empress Place Building) and the Arts House (the former Old Parliament House).

Artist's impression: Visitors can walk across shaded open space outside Victoria Concert HallArtist's impression: Visitors can walk across shaded open space outside Victoria Concert Hall

URA has worked to enhance public spaces within the Civic District to coincide with the adaptive reuse of the former Supreme Court and City Hall as the National Gallery, and the renovation of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall and the Asian Civilisations Museum. This project has strengthened the identity and attractiveness of the Civic District as a world-class arts and cultural hub for Singapore.

The design and quality of the public spaces in between these major buildings, and the pedestrian links to the adjacent precincts will be improved. These include connections to Fort Canning Park, the Bras Basah-Bugis district, City Hall MRT Station, and the waterfront promenade around Marina Bay. With a stronger positioning of the Civic District and better linkages to the new cultural developments around the Bay, the greater area is set to become Singapore’s “Civic and Cultural District by the Bay”.

Civic and Cultural District by the Bay

Marina South

Marina South, located next to Bay South Garden and the Straits of Singapore, will set a new standard for sustainable urban living. Imagine an urban village characterised by city streets with corner shops, cafes, grocery stores, barbers and beauty salons, all within a short walk or bicycle ride. The village main street is free of cars. Children play safely as parents shop or dine outdoors. Residential communities are planned as Street Neighbourhoods where residents have opportunities for face-to-face contact. Walking and cycling are the choice modes to move around with shaded walks and dedicated cycling paths.

As a mixed-use, high-density residential district, Marina South will provide more options for city living with 9,000 new homes. This means that more people can live near their work places in the CBD.

Overhead view of the Marina South Area
Overhead view of the Marina South Area

Mixed-use Streets - Mixed-use space ensures a variety of commercial and community uses right at the doorsteps of residents. Grocers, delis, clinics, salons, and work spaces will be located on the street level of developments with residences on the upper levels. Its streets are planned as active, outdoor living rooms for the community. Having community amenities such as shops, cafes, grocers and open spaces on the first floors of residential developments not only mean greater convenience for those living above and nearby, but more opportunities for neighbours to meet and interact with one another.

Artist’s impression: Enjoy an exchange of friendly words with our neighbours at the local playground or cafe
Artist’s impression: Enjoy an exchange of friendly words with our neighbours at the local playground or cafe.

A Stroll and Cycle - There will be sheltered connection enabling pedestrians to walk comfortably to any underground, above-ground, or street level destination. Streets will connect the network of courtyards, playgrounds, and the ground floors of mixed-use residential developments. Adults and children can cycle safely on dedicated cycling paths around the district. From any point in Marina South, a 5-minute walk will be all it takes to reach a public transport node. City living without cars will be possible with an intricate network of MRT lines, cycling paths and pedestrian walkways serving the district.

Artist’s impression: Soak in the local buzz and watch the world go by - all within this multi-level pedestrianised street
Artist’s impression: Soak in the local buzz and watch the world go by - all within this multi-level pedestrianised street

At the core of the pedestrian network will be an 800m long, 30m-wide pedestrianised street with an underground mall, stretching between two Thomson-East Coast Line MRT stations. Apart from serving as a pleasant walking route, this underground mall will be the central community corridor - buzzing with activity both above and below. Multi-level connectivity within the district will allow pedestrians to move seamlessly from one development to another and across the entire district to the waterfront and Bay South Gardens. To enhance the pedestrian experience with human-scale intimacy, developments fronting the pedestrianised street will be low-rise while building heights step up towards the arterial roads. A similar approach will be taken for developments with facades facing Bay South Gardens to open up scenic views.

A Stroll and Cycle

Convivial Communities - Marina South will be a fenceless community whereby residents can enjoy the best that city living can offer. One hallmark of city living is the opportunity to be part of the community, whether at the street, local precinct, or district level. All that is needed is a conducive setting for this to happen naturally. Bakeries, childcare centres, tranquil courtyards to playgrounds - each precinct will share a variety of publicly-accessible amenities, including parks and plazas, where residents can meet, interact and socialise.

A Green Space - Marina South will be among the most environmentally friendly districts in Singapore. With the highest Greenmark standards set for Marina Bay, it will be 30% more energy-efficient than usual. Buildings here will incorporate eco-features such as rainwater collection, greywater recycling, extensive greenery, and high energy efficiency ratings, becoming models for urban sustainability.

This coastal district will also harness the wind to cool the air to create a more comfortable living environment. The main arterial roads and the Pedestrianised Street will be aligned to the prevailing wind directions to allow better wind flows, while building heights within each street block will be varied to facilitate air movement at the pedestrian level. Elevated above the bustle on the ground, there will be a lushly landscaped walkway for dedicated pedestrian use. It will serve as a direct link between Bay South Gardens and the coast. Shoot the breeze, enjoy a quiet moment, or take a leisurely jog.

Artist’s impression: Enjoy panoramic views of the city and the tranquil waterfront
Artist’s impression: Enjoy panoramic views of the city and the tranquil waterfront

Greater Southern Waterfront

The planned relocation of the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal to Tuas will free up 325 and 600 hectares of waterfront land respectively. With the first set of berths at Tuas Port to be operational by 2025, the downtown and southern port area will eventually be phased out. This area is known as the Greater Southern Waterfront.

With about 1,000 hectares of land – an area three times the size of Marina Bay - up for development in the Greater Southern Waterfront after 2030, the landscape we can paint is limited only by our imagination. As we stand at the threshold of a new chapter in our city’s development, we would like to share six broad ideas for the Greater Southern Waterfront with you. The possibilities are immense and we would like to hear your ideas for our waterfront of the future.

Caption: Overhead view of the City and Pasir Panjang Terminals
Overhead view of the City and Pasir Panjang Terminals

Greater Southern Waterfront

The size of the Greater Southern Waterfront gives us opportunities to create many differentiated waterfront districts, each with unique characters and experiences. Currently under development are the Bayfront and Marina Central areas, which are located next to the CBD. Marina South will also be launched for development in a few years’ time. Elsewhere, plans for the remaining areas, including Labrador, Tanjong Pagar and Pulau Brani, will continue to be explored and refined before they are implemented in the longer term.

Greater Southern Waterfront

The Greater Southern Waterfront represents an opportunity to create a new waterfront city that is integrated with both our downtown and the surrounding housing and businesses near the city. The Greater Southern Waterfront could be built up for new housing, commercial, cultural and entertainment uses, cementing Singapore’s growing reputation as a world-class city for its people to live, work and play.

Greater Southern Waterfront

What’s a great city without great public spaces? The Central Linear Park in Marina Bay can be extended into Greater Southern Waterfront. Opportunities for people to stroll, run and take in new city sights along the extended all the way from the current Marina Bay Promontory to the waters of Keppel Channel that overlook Pulau Brani in the distance. Another possibility is to create a new pedestrian axis which branches diagonally out from the Central Linear Park, further increasing the network of public spaces through future new city districts. This new axis could be designated as a car-free zone, thereby creating opportunities for vibrant street life.

Greater Southern Waterfront

Our reservoirs not only form a key component of Singapore’s plan to achieve water self-sufficiency, but also provide picturesque settings for a range of outdoor recreational activities. A new reservoir could be created between Tanjong Pagar and Pulau Brani to retain rainwater at the Greater Southern Waterfront and store excess water from the Marina Reservoir that is currently discharged into the sea. This possible future Southern Reservoir would increase our local water supply and will also allow for the creation of an attractive network of canals through neighbourhoods with lively streetscapes. The canals themselves will be the connections to other destinations within the Greater Southern Waterfront.

Greater Southern Waterfront

With so many places of interest dotting Greater Southern Waterfront, a continuous corridor to connect them all would open fresh possibilities for a leisurely day out. Can you imagine a continuous, uninterrupted 30 km-long waterfront for walking, running and cycling? One could make stops at Labrador, Harbourfront, and the International Cruise Terminal on the way Gardens by the Bay at Marina South for unique and varied waterfront experiences.

Greater Southern Waterfront
To promote biodiversity and augment the green network in the densely built-up city, existing green spaces such as Labrador Park, Berlayer Creek and Mount Faber could be linked to Pulau Brani’s existing hillock through a green corridor. At the same time, a proposed eco-corridor could provide an unbroken ecological connection that links Gardens by the Bay to the island-wide green network, including the Rail Corridor and Southern Ridges. Inviting public spaces for community interaction, activities and events will be embedded in this corridor.

The 6 ideas on Greater Southern Waterfront are drawn from the following consultancies:

  1. Greater Southern Waterfront Design Consultancy by Urban Strategies Inc.
  2. Sustainable Development Framework Planning and Design for Marina Bay and Greater Southern Waterfront by AECOM Singapore Pte. Ltd.