Case Studies of Landuse and GFA Distribution of Transit Oriented Development in Singapore

City Centre Singapore

Feature Image/Figure 1: The city centre of Singapore

Case Studies of Landuse and GFA Distribution of Transit Oriented Development in Singapore
By Chin Yak Kean and Huang Yingda

Abstract
Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has played a significant role in Singapore’s development since it was mooted in the first Concept Plan in 1971. Being a city-state country that is well known with its city planning especially in the aspect of public transportation and land use planning integration, this paper sees the opportunity to document the land use distribution and development intensity surrounding the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations, to create a platform where studies could be further developed based on the data collected. Also, by studying the land use and development intensity surrounding the selected station, the results could be used as reference for other projects/studies to benchmark the TOD model in Singapore in terms of development quantum. The TOD model is being applied at 3 levels in the country’s planning: the city planning level, the urban design level and the station design level. By selecting 4 MRT stations in different urban situations: Raffles Place, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Sengkang, this paper aims to study the development quantum of these stations at the city planning level.

BACKGROUND
With only 710km2 of total land area, Singapore is the home to a population of approximately 5.18 million (2011). Scarcity of land, high population density and lack of natural resources are among the issues that have to be addressed to ensure the high quality living environment is preserved while the economy continues to grow. Central to this is addressing the basic need of human beings – ability to move from one place to another for daily activities. The first Concept Plan in 1971 that adopted the “Ring Concept Plan” has paved the way for the integration of the TOD model into the city planning of Singapore. It has envisioned the development of a ring of new high-density satellite towns around the central area, with each town separated by green spaces and open spaces. Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system was then proposed to connect the population centres to the city and the Industrial zone at the west, which then formed the base for TOD planning in Singapore. Today, the MRT service has covered most of the important nodes of the country and the system will be further enhanced to serve the population. Being a country that is well known for its expertise in city planning, particularly the TOD model, it is important to study the development quantum surrounding the MRT stations, to provide a platform of reference and also further studies on the subject. Hence, this paper has studied 4 MRT stations, focusing on the land use distribution and development intensity of each station.

Planning Structure Singapore

Figure 2: The planning structure of Singapore.

CASE STUDIES
The 4 MRT stations chosen are located in 4 different urban situations: in the Central Business District (Raffles Place); in a regional town (Tampines); the CBD fringe centre (Toa Payoh), and in a new town (Sengkang). The land use distribution and development intensity within an area of 500m-radius from the MRT station (78.6Ha) is studied.

Location of 4 MRT Stations

Figure 3: Location of the 4 MRT stations.

Case study 1: Raffles Place
Raffles Place is located at the Central Business District of Singapore, which is also the financial centre of the country. The station is an interchange of 2 major MRT lines in Singapore: the East-West line and North-South line, which has made it into one of the busiest MRT stations in Singapore. The Radar Chart analysis suggests the land use distribution within the study area emphasises on commercial use, which takes up more than 30% of the total land area within the range. The type of commercial activities is mostly offices use. On the other hand, there is about 3% of the land is used for residential purposes while 1% of the land within the range is planned as white site.

Major land use distribution at Raffles Place

Figure 4: Major land use distribution of Raffles Place

Land Use Type Land area (Ha) Percentage (%)
Residential 1.5 2
Resitential-1st storey commercial 0.7 1
Commercial 23.7 30
Hotel 1.9 2
White site 0.9 1
Place of worship 0.2 0
Civic and community institution 3.9 5
Open space 4.8 6
Park 2.8 4
Water body 17.4 22
Road 19.2 24
Transport facilities 1.1 1
Utilities 0.5 1
TOTAL 78.6 100

Table 1: Land use table of Raffles Place study area

Raffles Place is the area with the highest permissible plot ratio in Singapore. Most of the land parcels within the study area is permitted with a plot ratio above 10, some will hit 20 if it is being connected directly to the station’s underground walkway system.

Gross Plot Ratio control at Raffles Place

Figure 5: Gross Plot Ratio control of Raffles Place

The estimated Gross Floor Area (GFA) of the area is about 3 million square metres. Commercial use is the biggest share of all, taking up about 90% of the total GFA. Residential use is estimated to be around 250,000 sq. m. A point to note is that the total GFA in the study area is moderated by the presence of a substantial percentage of water bodies compared to the other 3 stations or case studies.

GFA distribution Raffles Place

Figure 6: Gross Floor Area distribution of Raffles Place.

Case study 2: Tampines
 Tampines MRT station is located within the regional centre that serves the eastern region of Singapore. The land use distribution in the study area is more evenly distributed, as suggested by the Radar Chart analysis. Commercial land is planned surrounding the MRT station, which takes up about 15% of the total land area. Residential land is about 35% of the total land area, equivalent to about 28 hectares. Institutional use has a significant distribution in this area as the regional centre of Singapore is always completed with certain key civil service centres and amenities. The detailed land use distribution of the study area is shown in table 2.

Major land use distribution at Tampines

Figure 7: Major land use distribution of Tampines

Land Use Type Land area (Ha) Percentage (%)
Residential 27.8 35
Commercial-residential mixed 3.6 5
Commercial 11.7 15
Educational institution 5.6 7
Healthcare and medical institution 0.4 1
Civic and community institution 1 1
Open space 1.7 2
Park 4.5 6
Sport and Recreational 1.8 2
Road 14.3 18
Utilities 0.6 1
Reserve site 5.6 7
TOTAL 78.6 100

Table 2:  Land use table of Tampines study area

The permissible plot ratio of the land within the study area shows a bell curve grading; where the highest permissible plot ratio of 4 is granted to the land parcels that are located immediately next to the MRT station.

The total GFA of the study area is about 1.5 million m2. Floor area for residential use takes up about 825, 000m2 while commercial use is the second highest, about 473,000m2. The commercial activities in the study area consist of both offices and shopping activities.

Gross plot ratio control at Tampines

Figure 8: Gross Plot Ratio control of Tampines

GFA distribution Tampines

Figure 9: Gross Floor Area distribution of Tampines.

Case study 3: Toa Payoh
Toa Payoh new town is built in 1970’s, and was among the earliest new town models in Singapore developed based on TOD concept. And thanks to the forward-looking TOD concept, the station continued to undergo urban revitalization long after the completion of the MRT station.

It now serves as one of the CBD fringe centres of Singapore, which provides the “park and ride” facilities. Private vehicles from more remote areas will stop and park in the car park provided around the station and drivers will travel into the city centre by MRT. This helps to address the traffic congestion problem within the CBD area. The development in the study area of Toa Payoh MRT station is relatively “matured” as compared to most of the other new town centres in Singapore. Most of the daily-need services e.g. groceries store, healthcare clinic, childcare and financial services can be found within walking distance from the MRT station. The land use analysis has suggested that residential use is of the major component, which is 40% of the total land area of the study site. Commercial land is about 9% and is distributed within the area of 200m-radius from the station.

Major land use distribution at Toa Payoh

Figure 10: Major land use distribution of Toa Payoh.

Land Use Type Land area (Ha) Percentage (%)
Residential 31.6 40
Commercial-residential mixed 4.4 6
Commercial 7 9
Business 1.4 2
Educational institution 2.1 3
Place of worship 1.6 2
Civic and community institution 1.2 2
Open space 0.5 1
Park 5.4 7
Sport and recreational 4.4 6
Water bodies 2.6 3
Road 15.6 20
Transport facilities 0.3 0
Reserve site 0.5 1
TOTAL 78.6 100

Table 3: Land use table of Toa Payoh study area

The highest permissible plot ratio in the study area is 4, which is the area for residential use after the immediate catchment area of the MRT station. The conserved commercial area located at the north-east side of the station has the lowest plot ratio of 1.4 within the study area.

Gross Plot Ratio control at Toa Payoh

Figure 11: Gross Plot Ratio control of Toa Payoh.

Total GFA of the study area is approximately 1.3 million sq. m. Among others, GFA for residential use is of the highest at 1 million sq. m. Commercial use takes up about 16% of the total GFA, which is about 215,000 sq. m. Apart from that, institutional and business uses are 30,000 and 35,000 sq. m. respectively.

GFA distribution Toa Payoh

Figure 12: Gross Floor Area distribution of Toa Payoh.

Case study 4: Sengkang
Sengkang is a relatively new (built in 90’s) new town in Singapore, with the MRT station well integrated, vertically, with the other modes of public transport (LRT and bus), and also integrated with the land use around the MRT station. Residential use is the major land use type within the study area. It takes up about 60% of the total land area. Commercial land is about 2% of the total land area. Meanwhile, there is 3% of land is reserved for future development. The detail land use distribution is shown in table 4.

Major land use distribution at Sengkang

Figure 13: Major land use distribution of Sengkang

Land Use Type Land area (Ha) Percentage (%)
Residential 48.6 62%
Commercial-residential mixed 1.9 2%
Commercial 1.3 2%
Educational institution 3.9 5%
Healthcare and medical institution 0.1 0%
Civic and community institution 0.6 1%
Open space 0.8 1%
Park 2.2 3%
Road 16.7 21%
Transport facilities 0.3 0%
Reserve site 2.2 3%
TOTAL 78.6 100%

Table 4: Land use table of Sengkang study area

The development in Sengkang is more compact as compared to the other sites. The lowest permissible plot ratio found within the study area is 3, where the land parcels located immediately next to the MRT station is permitted with plot ratio as high as 4.2.

The estimated total GFA is about 1.38 million sq. m. Residential use occupies the highest share of 1.25 million sq. m., which is about 90% of the total GFA. On the other hand, GFA for commercial use is about 51,000 sq. m. and 74,000 sq. m. for institutional use.

Gross Plot Ratio control at Sengkang

Figure 14: Gross Plot Ratio control of Sengkang.

GFA distribution Sengkang

Figure 15: Gross Floor Area distribution of Sengkang.

CONCLUSION
The 4 case studies show that TOD development in different urban functions and positions demonstrates different development quantums. Raffles Place, as the CBD of Singapore, consists of the highest development intensity in Singapore due to the high land and infrastructure cost. The land use type surrounding the station is mainly of commercial-offices use. On the other hand, Tampines as the regional centre has shown a more evenly distributed land use pattern and being planned in a more balanced condition around the MRT station. The intensity of development is lower than the CBD but slightly higher as compared to the rest. For Toa Payoh, the distribution of residential land tends to be higher as compared to the other land use types. There is also a significant of transportation facilities uses being planned nearby the station to serve the function of CBD fringe centre. Last but not least, the Sengkang case has shown a new trend of TOD development in the country where different public transport modes are being integrated seamlessly in the vertical direction. The intensity of the development around the MRT station is also getting higher as compared to the ‘traditional’ ones.

Last but not least, by looking at the preliminary research on the landuse quantum around several stations of different urban context, the study can be further developed. For instant, by looking at the morphology of the urban development surrounding the station, we may be able to get some clues on whether each of these TOD models is developed organically or it is a result of proper city planning. Also, the study could be further developed into urban design stage, which focuses on how different typologies of TOD model influence the urban form above and surrounding the stations, as well as the integration of underground spaces with the stations.♦

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