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Credit: IMDA, JTC, SIT, URA

Credit: IMDA, JTC, SIT, URA

Digital Punggol named Singapore’s first Enterprise District to support digital economy and create 28,000 jobs

On Jan 21, the Singapore Government unveiled the masterplan for the Punggol Digital District (PDD) which designates the district to be a home for key growth industries of the digital economy. The District will open progressively from 2023.

The masterplan was jointly announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), JTC, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). According to a report by Channel NewsAsia, the 50-hectare development was first announced as part of URA’s Draft Master Plan in 2013, while more details were shared by Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong last year.

Under the masterplan, Punggol will develop as the first Enterprise District in Singapore that integrates business and education, driven by technological, social and urban innovation. As part of Singapore’s national strategy to sustain long-term economic growth, new development areas across the island are designed to by highly integrated and inclusive spaces to live, work, play and learn. Each district will also play a unique role in Singapore’s future economy, giving it a distinctive identity.

Located in the North-Eastern part of Singapore, Punggol will develop to support the digital economy of the city-state. As Singapore’s first Enterprise District, PDD features higher flexibility in land use mix and scale. Aiming at building an inclusive and sustainable district, the integrated masterplan approach will see the establishment of a business park, a university and other community facilities in Punggol.

Digital Economy

JTC’s business park in Punggol will be home for various growth industries of the digital economy. This includes frontier technologies such as cyber security and Internet of Things (IoT).

Development is scheduled to commence this year. It is expected to add approximately 28,000 jobs in Punggol and the north-east region.

The clustering of these sectors in PDD aims at creating synergy to power the digitalisation of Singapore’s economy.

According to the Government press release, IMDA Assistant Chief Executive (Industry Development) Angeline Poh stated that by clustering these growth sectors, the Government aims to create an ecosystem of collaboration and innovation that enables businesses and people to thrive in a digital economy.

New SIT campus for industry-academia collaborations

With SIT research labs and learning facilities co-located within JTC’s business park building, SIT’s new campus in Punggol will promote cross-fertilisation of knowledge and collaboration between academia and industries. This space-sharing arrangement is made possible by the flexible land use under the Digital Punggol masterplan.

The SIT campus will feature degree programmes that have a strong industry focus to meet future manpower and industry demands. Collaborations will boost competitiveness of students and allow them to develop skill sets required by various thriving industries of the digital economy.

To create a vibrate ecosystem for the digital economy, industry teaching laboratories will be set up pilot programmes to support research work and learning, while innovative enterprises will occupy start-up space within the campus to test out new technological or business ideas by tapping on SIT’s research capabilities and talent pool.

In the SIT new campus, Southeast Asia’s first multi-energy urban micro-grid system will be constructed as a collaboration between SIT and SP Group. The experimental urban micro-grid system integrates gas, electricity and thermal energy into a unifies smart network that seamlessly incorporates renewable sources of energy and energy storage technologies.

As previously reported in Oct 2017, the micro-grid will be a national infrastructure open to the research community and businesses in Singapore. This allows new technologies to be tested in a controlled environment while providing power engineering students the opportunity with work with industry partners and energy start-ups.

Promoting liveability and sustainability

As the first eco-town in Singapore, Punggol has been a testbed for innovations that promote liveability and sustainability.

To support the development of the masterplan, PDD will see the optimisation of infrastructure and technologies on a district-level. This aims at enhancing liveability and reducing carbon footprint of the district despite various new developments.  

District-level infrastructure optimisation features effective energy, water, and waste management. They include an integrated Facilities Management System for optimal building management, a Pneumatic Waste Conveyancing System for automated waste collection, Centralised Urban Logistics Hub for automated delivery of goods, and IoT systems from the ground up that allows continuous digital experimentation and innovation.

In terms of energy efficiency, PDD will be equipped with a district cooling system that enables about 30-40% space and cost savings while reducing the area’s carbon footprint. Solar panels will be installed on roofs to generate clean energy to the power grid.

Technology to enhance community living

Technology will also be used to enhance community living. To support the Smart Nation Sensor Platform project under the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), IoT and sensor technologies will be tested and deployed in Punggol. These include environmental sensors to monitor air quality and noise level, and cameras to detect, classify and count Personal Mobility Devices (PMDS) in public spaces such as roads, cycling paths, and pedestrian walkways.

The Punggol community will also enjoy new amenities such as e-payment technology and automated tray return system in a naturally ventilated hawker centre.

In addition, more green mobility options will be made available in the PDD in support of Singapore’s car-lite movement. This includes PMDs and even autonomous vehicles.

To find out more about the upcoming PDD, free exhibitions showcasing the masterplan are set up and open to the public at the Waterway Point until next Sunday, and will move to the URA Centre on Maxwell Road from Feb 3 to Feb 15.

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