The town of Punggol in Singapore is slated to become a ‘tech-enabled, sustainable’ town showcasing the republic’s smart nation ambitions. The plans were announed recently by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee.
According to the plans, Punggol will provide opportunities for industry, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and public agencies to co-create, test and deploy innovative solutions in areas such as cybersecurity and smart facilities management. A multi-agency effort will enable greater integration in the planning and running of infrastructure and services.
Strategic National Project
Punnggol has been designated as a Strategic National Project for Smart Nation. It will drive adoption of digital and smart urban solutions throughout Singapore. The trials conducted in Punggol will be scaled to guide the development of future new towns and districts such as Tengah and Jurong Lake District, as well as the redevelopment of existing towns across Singapore.
Demonstration of future living
Punggol will be a demonstration of the future of living in Singapore. It will showcase how digital technologies can improve liveability and sustainability, create business opportunities, and forge a closer community. This builds on existing efforts by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) to develop Punggol as Singapore’s first eco-town since 2010. The entire Punggol town, with its housing precincts and the PDD, provides, according to the Singapore government, a ‘unique environment for innovation to prosper, and for companies, researchers, students and even residents to work together on novel and impactful ideas’. Technology will also be deployed to re-engineer services to respond to citizens’ different and changing needs.
Progressively from 2023, Punggol will serve as a living lab to test out new concepts of living, working and service delivery. The wider Punggol community can look forward to:
– new operating and service delivery concepts. Smart amenities that citizens can look forward to include a Specialist Community Club, imPAct@Punggol Digital District, which will be a one-stop social space, with a focus on programmes for youth and working professionals. There are also plans to develop one-stop, seamless public services to citizens in Punggol. Residents can look forward to the Punggol Regional Sport Centre that supports online and offline engagement such as virtual coaching, Augmented Reality gamification and online facilities booking. A hawker centre with a smart facilities management system will use technology to provide more efficient cleaning and maintenance services.
– A smart transport system that improves travelling around Punggol. This includes the pilot deployment of autonomous buses in the early 2020s, to enable the Punggol community to travel around the town efficiently and conveniently.
– A pro-enterprise business environment that nurtures innovation and collaboration. Academia, industry and government will forge a “Triple Helix Partnership” to develop ideas, productise them and overcome regulatory hurdles; and accelerate the testing and translation of new concepts to tackle challenges in areas like cybersecurity, smart grid and smart facilities management. This will help create job opportunities in key growth sectors of the digital economy.
– A green and sustainable town that minimises wastage and maximises resource efficiency. When completed later this year, residents living in the Punggol Northshore housing district can look forward to having their homes outfitted with built-in smart sockets and smart distribution boards that enable smart applications for the home, such as better monitoring of household energy consumption. Around the estate, features such as smart lighting will help save energy.
In addition to the provision of solar panels on the roofs of housing blocks, smart energy grid solutions to integrate energy generation and storage systems such as solar photovoltaic and batteries within PDD will be developed, so as to optimise energy consumption and reduce carbon footprint by up to 1,500 tonnes annually. The implementation of pneumatic waste conveyance systems will also benefit the wider Punggol community. It allows for waste to be collected via air suction in underground pipes, minimising the traffic, noise, pests and smell nuisances associated with traditional waste collection.
In due course, Smart City Hub hopes to report back about the realisation of these ambitious plans.