Work hard, play hard

Work hard, play hard

 

Is the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Leisure Plan a good idea? What do you like most about it and what would you change or add?

 

Tan Tiong Cheng

Managing Director

Knight Frank

 

URA has cleverly crafted the Leisure Plan by turning our weaknesses into strengths. We are a small island limited by physical size. Yet when fully developed, we will have a 150km route for joggers and cyclists, 4,200ha of parks connected by a web of 300km tracks, and 24/7 urban entertainment and lifestyle hotspots. We are a city – yet the countryside of farms and marshes is at the door-step. I am impressed that every square centimetre of land is fully utilised. Perhaps the only area left out of the Leisure Plan is the Southern Islands of Kusu, Lazarus, Seringat, Sisters and St John. The Leisure Plan will meet the needs of citizens, residents and visitors. It is a strategic piece of the jigsaw puzzle to make Singapore a unique place to live, work and play. The vision and objectives are bold and I look forward to its implementation.

 

CONVENIENT, ACCESSIBLE

 

Pauline Goh

Managing Director

CB Richard Ellis

 

THE tripling of the existing park connector network is timely as Singapore matures as a cosmopolitan city with the influx of a diverse range of expatriates, a large number of whom hail from cities with a love of the great outdoors.

 

The round-the-island path incorporating Marina Bay will inject a breath of fresh air to the dense concrete landscape of the Central Business District. This green network will offer convenient venue options for corporate sporting events, which have increasingly become popular. Outdoor activities will now be immediately accessible to office workers, who need not spend additional time commuting to recreational activities.

 

Glenn Tan

CEO

Motor Image Enterprises

 

THIS Leisure Plan is an ambitious move to extend URA’s Live, Work and Play concept beyond the city centre into neighbourhoods. With this decentralisation, people can truly live, work and play in closer proximity, reducing travel time to allow for more productive time, be it at work or play. This uniform distribution of commercial, residential and leisure facilities to outlying areas will provide much-needed relief from city centre congestion woes and ease the pressure on our transport system, as well as property prices in prime areas. This plan shows tremendous foresight in terms of enhancing the quality of life, with something for everyone – land or marine activities, serious sportsmen, the young and the elderly. I am delighted that it takes a holistic approach to leisure and recreation, rather than just exercise or fitness.

 

However, we must ensure that we retain the original charm and characteristics of each of these neighbourhood areas. Be it Orchard Road or Kallang Riverside, I am keen to see how URA intends to ‘carve out destinations with distinctive character’. This plan signals a new era for Singapore. I am excited that we are finally getting serious about having fun.

 

T Chandroo

Chairman/CEO

Modern Montessori International (MMI) Group

 

KUDOS to URA for putting forth a propitious proposal – especially in tandem with the IR developments – that will potentially shape our image as a world-class home for work and play. The Leisure Plan could not have been conceptualised at a more opportune time. In the foreseeable future, Singaporeans from all walks of life will be able to partake in accessible recreational activities that promise plenty of interaction with nature. Bearing in mind our ageing population, though, these state-of-the-art amenities should ideally be retrofitted to cater for the elderly, as well as the physically handicapped, so everyone can enjoy them.

 

FUN GLOBAL CITY

 

Derek Goh

Executive Chairman/Group CEO

Serial System

 

THE Leisure Plan is another hallmark of Singapore as a First World country. It is very timely – with the completion of the two IRs in 2010 and the hosting of the Inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 – for Singapore to turn into a fun global city state to work and live in. It’s uniquely Singapore indeed.

 

The Leisure Plan like the Land Transport Master Plan are long-term projects capable of generating growth and development for the next 10 to 15 years. More emphasis should be placed on nightlife and night attractions. More late-night recreation, shopping and eateries should be established to cater to tourists and shift workers. Late-night pricing can be more attractive to retain the shoppers, diners and movie goers. Even places of worship can be open at night to ease the congestion during the weekends.

 

I am confident that Singapore can be the City that never Sleeps.

 

R Theyvendran

Chairman/Managing Director

Stamford Media International Group of Companies

 

URA’s first Leisure Plan should be applauded – and encouraged. Just as economic success and growth does not come about without planning and sustained effort, so too the creation of a liveable, loveable and fun city.

 

As URA and other agencies have pointed out, there should be more varied and quality leisure options round-the-clock for everyone.

 

The aim is to create a healthy lifestyle – a balanced combination of ‘work and play’. Bringing parks closer to homes and the 150-km round-the-island route for joggers and cyclists are marvellous ideas. Creating must-see, crowd-pulling destinations, including unique waterways and sports facilities, are well thought-out projects.

 

Such recreational facilities will reduce the level of stress and enable greater interaction and understanding between the vast majority of Singaporeans. Greater family and communal bonding can be nurtured.

 

On the practical side, the opportunity cost of the nation’s limited land will be an issue – since there will be less land for housing, offices and other purposes.

 

Berthold Trenkel

Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT)

 

URA’s Leisure Plan is a great initiative that recognises the war for talent is not just happening at company level but at country level. Enhancing Singapore’s lifestyle value is vital if we are to attract and retain talent, which in turn will help businesses stay competitive. As a Singapore PR, I am thrilled by the prospects and ideas the new plan offers – and cannot wait to see the results.

 

HOTFOOT IT

 

Lim Soon Hock

Managing Director

PLAN-B ICAG Pte Ltd

 

IT is a brilliant idea. It marks a milestone in the government’s efforts to reshape and re-invent Singapore. I wish the Leisure Plan had been announced earlier, at the turn of the millennium. I hope the government can accelerate the implementation of the Leisure Plan, given its merits and benefits.

 

I like the plan for its holistic approach and the careful thought given to have the proposed developments distributed throughout the island. Some could have been developed earlier – for example, the 150-km round-the-island route for cyclists and joggers. As Singapore is an island, I would have thought it is an obvious thing for our planners to exploit the kaleidoscopic play of land and sea along the coastline to create a scenic and breathtaking circuit. I drove along the near round-the-island coastal road in Hawaii in the 1980s, and until this day I still remember the exhilarating experience. Perhaps our 150-km track can be expanded or redesigned to cater to driving as well?

 

The multi-billion-dollar budget set aside for the Leisure Plan shows the government is serious about creating an enjoyable and rejuvenating playground for the benefit of all Singaporeans. The plan appears to be wholesome both in quantity and quality, unlike other half-hearted attempts related to previous developments. In contemporary Singapore, where many of us work longer hours than before, I like the plan most for the myriad opportunities offered to families to spend quality time together for bonding and to enjoy one another at their own time and pace. Hence my earlier call to bring forward the implementation of the plan.

 

If there is one difficulty, it is our hot and humid weather. If only we could air-condition our entire island, Singapore would be paradise.

 

Liu Chunlin

CEO

K&C Protective Technologies Pte Ltd

 

WE like the Leisure Plan with its greater choices and balance between city entertainment and outdoor leisure. It was not too long ago that Singapore was criticised as a successful but boring place, attested by people from overseas coming here to work. But things have changed and are changing, through the likes of the F1, Youth Olympics and now the Leisure Plan. I believe we can be cosmopolitan like New York, Paris and London, even if we are not as big.

 

I have a few suggestions. One is a quicker pace of implementation. Just as the transport system is under pressure, leisure infrastructure will be too. We see overcrowded shopping centres at weekends. We can also create greater ‘space’ by having free wireless access along leisure networks, to compensate for scarce land.

 

While the government can lay the leisure infrastructure, it should allow greater spontaneity in the ‘software’ part. I know that in a small place like Singapore, rules are often needed to regulate public space, but let us be prepared for a loosening up. The software part will allow operators and users greater leeway in leisure activities as long as they do not use this at the expense of others.

 

New towns are potentially a great asset in terms of leisure activities. But I think our new towns are too homogeneous though they are most accessible. The same type of facilities and shops can be found in every estate. Why not create towns with unique character so they are interesting to visit. We need to break out of the idea that public housing estates need to be standardised from an administration point of view.

 

A BOOST FOR LIFESTYLE

 

Charles Reed

CEO

DoCoMo interTouch

 

SINGAPORE has done an excellent job of providing all age groups with a wide range of leisure options. From the main shopping districts to the heartlands, there is no lack of entertainment malls, parks and community centres.

 

The Leisure Plan is an excellent initiative to provide individuals with another way of taking time off their busy schedules and achieve an even better work-life balance.

 

With the launch of the new 9-km scenic walk on the Henderson Wave and the Alexandra Arch, Singapore is strengthening its position as a world-class city with a high standard of living and a strong focus on the population’s health and wellbeing. Such initiatives not only benefit residents but also attract talent and foreign investment.

 

Moving forward, URA could look into hosting more international events, like the annual Carnevale di Venezia in Italy, to enhance the success of the Leisure Plan and provide Singaporeans with more entertainment options.

 

David Hope

VP and Regional MD, Asia & Japan

Lawson Software

 

I AM very excited by the Leisure Plan. It will help improve the overall quality of life, promote healthy living and provide options and choices for residents and visitors. I am particularly pleased by the planned 150km round-the-island route for cyclists and joggers, more green spaces and more water and sports facilities. I have been advocating the need to extend cycling tracks in Singapore for some time to offer a safer, more healthy and non-polluting mode of transport. The key is to do this properly and make it a world-class facility. By that, I mean building a fully inter-connected cycling track with connecting paths and no dead-ends, steps, barriers or other obstacles that sometimes exist on cycling tracks (such as bridges that start and end with steps). Hopefully, we will eventually see a track that is connected with underpass or overpass options at all roads, and not just the sharing of narrow footpaths. I am confident that with proper planning this could be world-class in every respect and would be very well used. The safety aspects of having extensive dedicated cycling tracks will encourage more families to take up cycling, which benefits everybody.

 

Dhirendra Shantilal

Senior Vice-President, Asia Pacific

Kelly Services

 

SINGAPORE is recognised as a country with an excellent quality of life, efficient world-class infrastructure, public safety and a multi-faceted effectively bilingual talent pool – all major selling points for attracting and retaining valuable talent and foreign investment.

 

The continued development of Singapore’s attractiveness as a city to work, play and live is impressive and commendable. In URA’s Leisure Plan, there are now more recreational avenues available all over Singapore for all demographic groups.

 

Organisations in Singapore can support various initiatives to enhance the quality of life for our people through sponsorships, setting up leisure and sports-related enterprises and partnerships and supporting environmental projects and programmes as part of corporate social responsibility.

 

It is also critical to continue to invest in our people, as our future economic growth and quality of life are closely tied to this investment.

 

While education and training are important to equip our people with the necessary knowledge and skills, organisations and employers must also foster a culture that supports work-life balance – to improve employee health and well-being, improve productivity and enhance overall quality of life.

 

OTHERS

 

Lars Ronning

President, Asia Pacific (excluding China and Japan)

Tandberg

 

THE Leisure Plan tackles the pressing issues of protecting the environment while making sure growth is sustainable.

 

It is commendable that the plan takes into consideration agri-tainment, arts entertainment spaces, as well as where to house industrial development. But URA needs also to keep in mind the preservation of cultural icons and spaces. Preservation of The Arts House (former parliament house) is a great example, which should be replicated insofar as preserving old-world charm in metropolitan Singapore.

 

On a different note, this new plan needs to be coupled with accurate data and transparent administration – factors for which Singapore has become renowned. That way, good governance and economic growth might prove a solution in achieving sustainable growth and at the same time protecting the environment.

 

Dora Hoan

Group CEO

Best World International Ltd

 

URBAN planning is never more needed than in Singapore due to scarce land and dense population. It becomes critical to maximise the use of land efficiently while equitably serving the greatest number of people. The URA Leisure Plan is a most welcome development as we try to make Singapore a modern yet liveable place. Adding leisure elements will increase the value of residential and commercial properties and develop centres that provide for increased social interaction and thereby give rise to the development of new businesses and more services due to higher potential returns.

 

We must pause to examine how liveability can be defined. And in doing so, we must see to it that it is analysed through a framework of indicators such as economic, environmental, cultural, democratic and social considerations. The plan must uplift the quality of life for our people and be fun and exciting in a manner that will also not detract or encroach on a community’s historical charm. As for businesses, we ought to be conscious of notions of corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility relevant to enhancing liveability. A Leisure Plan will be good in so far as it encourages harmony in diversity – providing a range of cultural, community and educational services as well as business and retail activities to complete it.

 

Source: Business Times

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