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Singapore Plans Higher Buildings

April 28, 2001

SINGAPORE (AP) _ About 80 percent of the 4 million people in Singapore live in the high-rise apartment buildings that dominate the tiny city-state. Now, its government is aiming even higher.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority released a sweeping plan Saturday to preserve nature, open spaces and historic buildings by building upward instead of outward as the wealthy island’s population grows. That means sending the high-rises even higher.

``Currently only 35,000 people live above the 20th story,″ said Caroline Seah, a physical planning executive for the authority. ``In the future, more people can get to live on higher floors and enjoy great views.″

The plan also includes preserving old buildings, patches of jungle and mangrove swamps that were slated for destruction. And it calls for building down as well as up, digging into what the authority’s chief executive officer, Tan Kim Siew, called ``our big land bank.″

The city-state’s population is expected to grow to 5.5 million over the next few years. But officials said they believed greater crowding would not be a problem.

``The people are willing to tolerate higher density in exchange for more recreational and open space,″ Tan said. And higher-density housing ``will also strengthen community bonds,″ she added.

Seah said the new plan calls for quadrupling the number of people living in the central financial and shopping district, which will help ``add buzz to the city.″

Officials said the new plan would also preserve more of Singapore’s unique architecture, which includes ornate 19th-century baroque shops built by wealthy Chinese settlers, and European-style mansions built when it was a British colony.

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