Study Trip to Yokohama, Tokyo and Seoul

At the invitation of the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), SLA CE Tan Boon Khai led a delegation of 40 officials from the Infrastructure & Environment (I&E) sector on an overseas visit to Yokohama, Tokyo and Seoul from 28 August to 3 September 2016. The study trip was part of the 10th Executive Development and Growth Exchange Programme developed by CLC for the I&E sector as well as other relevant Government agencies. These cities were selected as they shared many similar characteristics as Singapore, such as an ageing population, limited land and high population density.

In Yokohama, the delegation met with the Yokohama City Government and visited the underground district heating and cooling plant constructed to serve the Minato Mirai 21 developments since 1989. Similar to the district cooling network in Marina Bay, the centralised system reduces the space requirement needed compared to individual heating and cooling systems. There is also less carbon emission. The visit ended with a tour of the Kohoku New Town district, where an official from the Urban Development Bureau of Yokohama shared with us the principles and planning considerations in the development of the new town.

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Tour of the underground district heating and cooling plant

The delegation then visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Mitsubishi Estate and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to study the regeneration efforts of both the Government and the private developer. We were introduced to the Exceptional Floor Area Ratio (FAR) District System where the Government allowed the transfer of unused FAR to surrounding buildings within the same area.

The FAR transfer system was adopted by Mitsubishi Estate for the restoration of the Tokyo Station in Otemachi Marunouchi Redevelopment District under the public-private partnership model. This was a win-win structure for the public, private FAR seller and buyer as it allowed the Tokyo Station to be restored using the proceeds from the sale of the additional FAR to the nearby developments. To incentivise landowners to free up space for public use, the government also allowed private developers to have additional FAR if they create publicly accessible spaces within their land. The Tokyo visit concluded with a site tour of the Eco-Plaza to learn about the underground parking solutions for bicycles (Eco-Cycle) and cars (Eco-Park).

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Exceptional Floor-Area Ratio District System

In Seoul, the delegation met with the Seoul Institute to understand the challenges in the making of the “Citizen Participatory” 2030 Seoul Plan, a long-term Master plan for Seoul’s development. Seoul Institute shared that the vision and key issues of the Seoul Plan were identified by citizens in consultation with experts and planners to strike a balance between the citizens’ wishes and feasibility of the plan.

During the two-day visit, the delegation also attended briefings by the Seoul Human Resource Development Centre to study Seoul’s sharing economy and transport policies. The delegation went on learning journeys to Woomyun Public Housing Development, Cheonggyecheon Museum, Seoul Safety Integrated Control Centre and Seoul Transport Operation & Information Service (TOPIS).