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Punggol Digital District, a town like no other

It wasn’t too long ago when Punggol was a fishing village, predominantly occupied by Malay settlers. Its even harder to imagine a concentration of pig-farming activities in Punggol to minimise pollution by relegating its activities to a dedicated piece of land. Teeming with historic value, Punggol was also the site where close to 400 Chinese civilians fell victim to the Sook Ching purge in the dark days of the Japanese Occupation during World War II.

The area’s function has evolved over the years to suit the changing needs of Singapore’s growing urbanisation projects. Today, Punggol is an up and coming residential area for young families to start afresh. Matching its new leg in history are the projects to modernise and develop the area.

The new Punggol Digital District: Envisioning 2030, is one of such plans. Jointly organised by GovTech, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), JTC and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), the initiative hopes to envision a digitally driven township which is both vibrant and inclusive. Part of the Smart Nation push, Punggol is the first to adopt an integrated masterplan approach which caters to a resident’s entire life journey.

Featured in the masterplan is a business park, a university and community facilities. SIT’s new campus resides comfortably close with JTC’s business park buildings. Close collaboration between industry and academia are facilitated to foster synergies and encourage a cross-fertilisation of ideas and knowledge between industry professionals, students and academics. New ideas will be conceived at the University. Businesses in the area will then prototype, test and adopt these ideas. Finally, the ideas will be commercialised for implementation. Hence the overall effects are vibrant and strong communities.

Punggol Digital District will be a town for the future. Within its bounds, are key growth sectors of the digital economy such as cyber security and digital technology services and businesses. Located in the north-eastern most tip of the island, integrated services are necessary to provide quality of life and ease of access to residents. Hence, the masterplan for the area will bring exciting job opportunities closer to its resident.

With key growth sectors nested within the area, Punggol will be an ecosystem of open innovation and provide a conducive test-bed environment to aid businesses and community to thrive in the digital economy.

Forming the country’s first Enterprise District, Punggol Digital District provides the flexibility for land use mix. Hence, deeper integration and synergy of multiple uses are possible to encourage further space integration. An example of harvesting such synergies would be to house SIT’s research labs and learning facilities within JTC’s business park buildings. JTC could also host R&D facilities and create startup spaces within SIT.

Maximising a resident’s quality of life is an inclusive and green environment. The hawker centre, community centre, childcare facilities, parks and public spaces will also be in the vicinity to meet the needs of the community.

In the spirit of community, an online challenge is launched to aggregate ideas on Designing a Digitally Enhanced User Experience for the Punggol Digital District Community. Members of the public are encouraged to submit original and exciting ideas to redefine the limits of a user-centric future.

Specifically, the challenge asks how digital technology will improve the urban environment and people’s way of life across all communities by the year 2030. It beckons insights on how technology applications might be viewed alternatively so that our way of life is revolutionised and simultaneously addresses resource and environmental concerns in the process.

Details of the submission requirements can be found here.

A second phase of the challenge, a hackathon, will be launched. The hackathon calls on the tech community to brainstorm and develop prototype solutions for winning ideas based off Phase 1. Ideas which make the cut may be further developed for eventual implementation in Punggol.

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