Singapore is the most modern nation in Southeast Asia, and it’s the yardstick by which developing nations aspire to. Bangkok, Kyaukphyu, Malaysia, Manila, and Vietnam are some of the places that have mentioned being the next Singapore.
It’s much easier though to be a modern nation when you are a city-state, without the need to spread infrastructure spending across thousands of islands and dozens of provinces. Singapore does offer lessons in long term planning, which other governments would do well to emulate.
Here are some of the major construction, transport, and infrastructure projects that are planned or underway in Singapore.
This map of Singapore lists every project referred to in this post.
[Map of Singapore projects.]
Marina Bay Sands Expansion
Location: Bayfront Ave, Singapore.
“Located immediately adjacent to the existing Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (IR), the key elements of the development will be a state-of-the-art 15,000-seat arena, a luxury hotel tower and additional MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition) space.”
Location: 88 Market Street, Singapore.
CapitaSpring is a 280-metre integrated development with work, live, and play spaces in a vertically connected environment. This will be one of the tallest buildings in Singapore (the tallest building is the 290-metre Guoco Tower). It is expected t be completed in the second half of 2021.
Avenue South Residence
Location: 1 Silat Ave, Singapore.
Avenue South Residence features two 56-storey condominium towers, making it one of the tallest apartment buildings in Singapore. The project is most notable for being the tallest prefabricated towers in the world.
The future of apartment towers is coming to Singapore – [19/02/21]
“The new Avenue South Residences are the world’s tallest prefabricated skyscrapers—a type of modular design suited for the post-COVID era.”
Changi East Project
Location: Changi Airport, Singapore.
The Changi East Project (also referred to as the Terminal 5 or T5 Project) is a major expansion of Singapore Changi Airport to ensure it remains one of the world’s premier airport hubs. It involves building a new terminal with supporting infrastructure to fully integrate it with the other four terminals. It will also include an expanded industrial zone for cargo.
Terminal 5 is being built on 1,080 hectares of reclaimed land to the east of the airport. The new terminal structure will be larger than terminals 1, 2 and 3 combined, making it one of the largest terminals in the world. T5 will be able to handle up to 50 million passengers annually, bringing the total airport capacity to 135 million passengers per year.
[Changi Airport expansion (image via straitstimes.com).]
Changi already has a third runway which was established for Changi Air Base (East) and is used for joint military-civilian use. This runway will be fully integrated into the rest of Changi Airport with almost 40km of new taxiways being built. T5 will be situated between runways 2 and 3.
The terminal will be connected to the Thomson–East Coast MRT line, which will also be extended to the current Changi Airport station. The Cross Island MRT line may also be extended in the future.
Terminal 5 is scheduled for completion in the 2030s and its estimated cost is approximately US$10bn. Construction has been put on hold for two years due to the pandemic.
Changi East gears up for massive airport building works – [11/10/18]
“Safety and security being boosted at site, with about 20,000 workers expected.”
Changi Airport Group awards architectural and engineering contracts for Terminal 5 – [13/04/18]
“Changi Airport Group (CAG) has selected the firms that will provide architectural design and engineering consultancy services for the development of Terminal 5 (T5).”
Decades of groundwork for T5 to take flight – [03/12/17]
“Singapore has thrived by betting big on future trends that make or break economies, whether in air or sea transport, urban development or water sustainability. It is how the Republic rose to become the world’s top transhipment hub, a leading air hub and a model liveable city. In the first of a three-part series on major infrastructure projects, Insight looks at what it takes to get Changi Airport Terminal 5 off the ground.”
Greater Southern Waterfront
Website: Greater Southern Waterfront
The Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) is an urban redevelopment project of the southern waterfront area. The development will happen after the container ports at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Pulau Brani and Pasir Panjang are moved to the Tuas Mega Port. The old port areas will then be redeveloped into new living areas with improved accessibility. This will open up a long stretch of waterfront land that was previously industrial and port facilities.
[YouTube: NDR 2019: Greater Southern Waterfront.]
National Day Rally 2019: 9,000 new HDB and private homes in ‘Punggol by the Bay’ at Greater Southern Waterfront – [21/08/19]
“About 9,000 housing units – both public and private – will be built on the site of Keppel Golf Club as part of the future Greater Southern Waterfront, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.”
Greater Southern Waterfront development will start in 5-10 years – [28/03/19]
“Development of the Greater Southern Waterfront will begin in five to ten years with certain precincts, kicking off with Pasir Panjang Power District and the site of the existing Keppel Club.”
URA unveils concept for Greater Southern Waterfront – [20/11/13]
“More than a year after plans were first announced to free up prime land for development by consolidating all container port activities in Tuas, Singaporeans have been given a glimpse of the vast transformation that could take place along the Republic’s southern front.”
Sentosa-Brani Master Plan
Location: Sentosa Island.
Sentosa and Pulau Brani are being redeveloped as part of the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan. The islands will be transformed “into an Island Playground in a Global City”. New attractions will be built, with rejuvenated beaches and expanded nature and heritage trails.
The redevelopment is part of the Government’s plan to remake Singapore’s Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW).
1st phase of Sentosa-Brani Master Plan to be completed by 2022 – [21/09/19]
“Iconic Merlion tower will give way to S$90m linkway between RWS and Sentosa’s southern beaches.”
Sentosa’s Merlion to go as Sentosa-Brani master plan reshapes islands – [20/09/19]
“The multi-sensory walkway Sentosa Sensoryscape will be the first feature built as part of the master plan.”
Punggol Digital District (PDD)
Punggol Digital District is a planned enterprise district covering 50 hectares in the North-East Region of Singapore. It will be home to industries of the digital economy, and the new campus of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). There will also be a shopping area with F&B outlets.
The district will focus on being a green and pedestrian-friendly environment, with parks and walkways along the waterfront.
The North East MRT will be extended here, where it will terminate at Punggol Coast MRT Station.
Singapore’s Punggol Digital District welcomes international tech players – [29/07/21]
“The precinct is claimed to be Singapore’s first smart business district.”
Punggol Digital District to have more jobs close to green, smart homes – [18/01/20]
“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”.
What is urban design’s role in creating a competitive digital economy? – [16/03/18]
“We take a look at what’s in the pipeline (and the cables) for the WOHA-master-planned Punggol Digital District, where the digital economy is expected to grow and flourish.”
Jurong Lake District
Location: Jurong East, Singapore.
Jurong Lake District is a new urban development in the west of Singapore. The 360ha project is being billed as the second Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore. It will be the largest commercial and regional centre outside Singapore’s city centre. The development will include offices and housing, and parkland surrounding Jurong Lake. There will be 4 MRT stations connecting it to the rest of Singapore.
HSR termination will not affect overall plans for Jurong: Ong – [05/01/21]
Jurong Lake District is going to be a new tourism hub – 
“From 2026, the upcoming Jurong Lake District (JLD) will be bringing various leisure options, which will appeal to both tourists and locals. The seven hectare land – about the size of ten football fields – will be featuring a hotel, eateries, and shops.”
Jurong Innovation District
Location: Jurong, Singapore.
“Served by 6 future Jurong Region Line stations, JID will be an industrial district for advanced manufacturing, supporting an ecosystem of manufacturers, technology providers, researchers and education institutions with Nanyang Technological University nearby.”
S$420m in new investments in Jurong Innovation District – [20/10/20]
Location: Tengah, Singapore.
Tengah is a planned new town by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) in the Western region of Singapore. This will be Singapore’s first smart and sustainable town, with the development revolving around nature and the community. There will be about 42,000 new homes in 5 residential districts.
Singapore is building a 42,000-home eco ‘smart’ city – [02/02/21]
“Promising 42,000 new homes across five residential districts, the eco-town of Tengah — the Malay word for “middle,” though it’s in the island’s western region — will be the 24th new settlement built by Singapore’s government since World War II. It is, however, the first with centralized cooling, automated trash collection and a car-free town center, which conservationists hope offers a roadmap for slashing carbon emissions in the Southeast Asian city-state.”
Mass Rapid Transit expansion
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is often listed as one of the best metro systems in the world. As of August 2021 there are 6 lines with 127 stations on 216 kilometres of track.
The network is continually being expanded, and the system will be about 400 kilometres in length by 2040.
New lines include:
Thomson–East Coast Line
Jurong Region Line
Cross Island Line
Extensions are also planned for:
North East Line
Thomson–East Coast Line
Cross Island Line
North South Line
Website: Rail Corridor
The Rail Corridor (also known as the Green Corridor) is an urban parkland development on the former railway land of the old KL-Singapore railway line.
From the Urban Redevelopment Authority site: “The Rail Corridor is a former railway line that stretches 24km north to south of Singapore. The future Woodlands North Coast and Greater Southern Waterfront areas will be linked by this trans-island green artery. Now a “green corridor”, it will be transformed into a community space that links 1 million people within 1km of the Rail Corridor. When the Rail Corridor is connected, it will spur the development of surrounding lands and rejuvenation of older districts.”
Paya Lebar Air Base Redevelopment
Location: Paya Lebar Air Base.
“With the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase from 2030s onwards, the airbase and its surrounding industrial developments can progressively be transformed into a highly liveable and sustainable new town. Our plans will build on the unique identity as a former airport and airbase. The possibilities are immense and we would like to hear your ideas to co-vision a community of the future.”
Perhaps more significant than the airbase land is the loosening of height restrictions in and near the Paya Lebar flight path. There is currently a height limit of 280 metres in the city centre due to being near the flight path.
Let imagination take flight for the redevelopment of Paya Lebar Air Base – [31/01/20]
“Members of the public will get a chance to re-imagine the future of Paya Lebar Air Base and the surrounding industrial estates as part of the “Runway for Your Imagination” ideas competition. Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), in partnership with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and the Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP), the competition encourages members of the public to share their ideas on how the area can be transformed into a highly liveable and sustainable new town that builds on its unique aviation heritage.”
A different Paya Lebar, with air base gone – [18/07/17]
“The relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base from 2030 will free up 800ha of land – bigger than Bishan or Ang Mo Kio. Current height restrictions in the eastern swathe of Singapore to ensure navigational safety for aircraft will be relaxed, meaning that current low-rise buildings may be redeveloped.”
Tuas Mega Port
Location: Tuas S Blvd, Singapore.
Tuas Mega Port involves the consolidation of Singapore’s ports into one mega-terminal, making it the largest container terminal in the world.
The five container terminals of Singapore (Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani, Pasir Panjang Terminal 1 and Pasir Panjang Terminal 2) will gradually be closed and their operations moved to the new port. Having the container terminals in one location will eliminate the need to ship containers between terminals via road as it is currently done.
Size matters: inside the Tuas Mega Port project in Singapore – [10/05/21]
“The biggest port infrastructure in the world is scheduled to open its first two berths in 2021. We get the inside track from Er Tham Wai Wah, chief engineer and senior director at Singapore’s Tuas Mega Port.”
Tuas Port to be world’s largest fully automated terminal when completed in 2040 – [04/10/19]
“When fully completed in 2040, the mega port will be the world’s largest fully automated terminal, boasting features such as automated wharf and yard functions, and full-electric automated guided vehicles”.
Commentary: Singapore’s Tuas Mega Port a bold investment that will face significant challenges – [18/05/19]
“With Tuas Terminal, the country has upped the ante and made a huge bet on its maritime future, says Asia Pacific Connex’s Andre Wheeler.”
Singapore’s Tuas mega-port: plain sailing ahead? – [04/06/18]
“The Lion City hopes a new multibillion-dollar facility will help keep it the world’s largest transshipment hub. But there’s a rising tide of pretenders to its crown.”
Full steam ahead for new Tuas mega port – [24/04/17]
“Works are in full swing at the future Tuas port, with reclamation ongoing for two out of four phases of the development and more than 3km of caisson already installed to form the wharf.”
“Our flagship project is the Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPowerLink), which will harness and store solar energy from one of the most reliably sunny places on the planet in the Northern Territory of Australia, for 24/7 transmission to Darwin and Singapore via a high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system.
The AAPowerLink will be capable of supplying up to 20% of Singapore’s total electricity needs, with supply commencing in 2027.”
‘Just a matter of when’: the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar – [14/07/19]
“Ambitious export plan could generate billions and make Australia the centre of low-cost energy in a future zero-carbon world.”
Jewel Changi Airport (completed)
Location: 78 Airport Blvd, Changi Airport, Singapore.
Singapore is often described as a futuristic city, and they have now built a structure that looks straight of a science fiction movie. Jewel Changi Airport is a public space that connects terminals 1,2, and 3.
Here is my full review of Jewel Changi Airport.
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (cancelled)
Location: Jurong East, Singapore.
The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail was a proposed railway connecting the two cities, which currently doesn’t have a railway service. The Singapore terminal was planned to be in Jurong East as part of the Jurong Lake District.
The project was cancelled by the Malaysian government in January 2021 due to a dispute with the cost. There is still hope that it will be revived in the future, but for now, its status is cancelled.
Read more about the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail.
Singapore Development News
Keppel working on project to explore floating city in Singapore – [22/06/21]
“A floating city in Singapore may well become a reality, with Keppel Corp exploring such nearshore urban developments.”
How Singapore is creating more land for itself – [20/04/17]
“The island off the southern tip of Malaysia reveals the future of building in an epoch of dwindling territory.”