Singapore continues to push ahead with its focus on an innovation-based economy, and the launch of the upcoming Jurong Innovation District (JID), which took place on September 14, is the latest in a series of such new projects.
Guest of honour Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Adviser to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisation, officiated the event of the JTC Corporation project at Westgate.
In his address, Mr Tharman shared that innovation is going to be the DNA of this development, which will be reflected in the type of technologies used, the symbiotic relationship between polytechnics and universities, and the type of jobs created. “Once fully developed, we expect it to create 95,000 new jobs,” said SM Tharman. The mandate of the project also includes a strong sustainability focus in the composition of the industries here, the way it is designed, and the way the facilities are designed for sustainability and also recycling initiatives.
Mr Tharman also emphasised the importance of hands-on learning for students and creating environments where real-time learning can be facilitated. JTC also collaborated with Mistletoe and students from Nanyang Technological University on a project to improve the user experience within communal spaces in the Jurong Eco-Garden. “Students will be test-bedding their ideas in a real-life environment, to see how features such as outdoor furniture, art installations and soundscapes can add to the character and purpose of the Jurong Eco-Garden and JID,” he said. “Several firms such as Bosch and PBA Robotics will also offer training and certification programmes. Students from Singapore Polytechnic will also be provided with internship and project opportunities at advanced manufacturing companies in the JID and beyond. Over 400 students from the polytechnic are expected to benefit from this programme in the next three years.
JID will go beyond advanced manufacturing. It will include innovations in agri-technology, urban mobility and the built environment. “We hope to use JID as a prime example of how manufacturing can involve recycling and help drive what’s called the circular economy,” added Mr Tharman. “JID houses the highest concentration of 3D printing facilities in Singapore. Leading players in 3D printing are also being encouraged to share knowledge and resources, and provide consultancy workshops for companies looking to adopt such technologies.”
He also noted that JID is not just for industries but it’s linked to the existing facilities around the neighbourhood. It will be a place for lifestyle amenities for those working here as well as those who reside in the neighbouring. It will be full of greenery, with almost 40 per cent of the district under green cover, biodiversity and a range of facilities including a few new offerings that haven’t been tried before.”
The car-lite development will also have Singapore’s first car-free sky corridor, spanning 11km and designed especially for pedestrians, cyclists and autonomous shuttles. The dedicated corridor will connect workplaces with key transport hubs, amenities and community spaces, making commuting more convenient and pleasant for users.
“In the past few years, we have taken major steps to develop the Jurong Lake District not only as a second business district outside the city, but also into a highly liveable area, with a whole range of amenities and lifestyle options, and its own distinctive identity,” said Mr Tharman. For example, the Jurong Lake Gardens, which opened earlier this year, caters to all ages, and is a tranquil place with many distinct species of flora and fauna. Jurong Eco-Garden is also set to receive a facelift in phases, and by 2025, the rejuvenated garden will have new nature trails, café, playground and fitness facilities that the community can enjoy. There will also be a new linkway by 2022 that connects Jurong West residents to the Jurong Eco-Garden, making it convenient for residents to visit. The Jurong Regional Line will also get three new MRT stations from 2026 that will serve the JID.
SM Tharman concluded by saying that JTC welcomes feedback from the community on the masterplan to further refine the development.
Check out the videos for the preview of the Jurong Innovation District!