Greater Southern Waterfront & key projects that have shaped Singapore

The Greater Southern Waterfront, which comprises 30km of coastline from Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang, will be transformed into a new place to live, work and play.

In his National Day Rally (NDR) speech on Sunday (Aug 18), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave details on how the key project would take shape.

The waterfront area - which is double the size of Punggol and will include public and private housing - is just one of the iconic projects which PM Lee has spoken about over the years.

Scroll on for an interactive look at key infrastructure projects highlighted in NDR speeches.


Jewel Changi Airport. Tuas mega port. Jurong Lake District. These and many other major projects have been featured in PM Lee’s NDR speeches over the years.

Delivering his 16th NDR speech on Sunday (Aug 18), Mr Lee recalled how he first spoke about Jewel Changi Airport in 2013. “At that time, Jewel was just a concept and an ambition,” he said. “Now we have completed it, on time and within budget.”

The $1.7 billion mega complex, which has shops, restaurants, leisure attractions and facilities for travellers, opened in April 2019, four years after work started.

“What we talk about, this Government, we will deliver,” said Mr Lee.

Find out more about the iconic projects featured in Mr Lee’s NDR speeches over the years.

A Pinnacle of public housing

Completed in 2009, the Pinnacle@Duxton was the tallest Housing Board project, with seven 50-storey blocks linked by two sky bridges.

It was also the first public housing project for which URA had called an international architectural design competition in 2001, with 227 entries from 32 countries.

At NDR 2009, PM Lee said that the Pinnacle was being built on the site where one of the first public housing projects - Tanjong Pagar Duxton Plain - was commissioned.

The Pinnacle@Duxton was a groundbreaking one that redefined public housing through unique design features and showed that high-quality living need not be just for private developments.


Today, it continues to represent the rejuvenation of Singapore’s city centre and has inspired new iconic projects SkyVille @ Dawson and SkyTerrace @ Dawson in Queenstown.

imageJurong Rock Caverns

Putting oil back into the ground?

While PM Lee mentioned the Jurong Rock Caverns at NDR 2011, the idea began as early as the mid-1990s. He would officially open it on Sept 2, 2014.

It was the first underground oil storage facility in South-east Asia, freeing up 60ha - or about 84 football fields - of usable land.

In its first phase, the caverns can store up to 1.47 million cubic metres of liquid hydrocarbons - or equivalent to 580 Olympic-sized pools - and to be doubled in the next phase.

The caverns, which go up to 130m beneath Jurong Island, took six years of planning and over eight years of construction at a cost of $950 million.

They represent an innovative solution to Singapore’s land scarcity issue and an investment in the petrochemical industry.

The centrepiece of our city

“The centrepiece of our redevelopment of the city,” was how PM Lee described Marina Bay in NDR 2005.

Yet just five decades ago, Marina Bay was but a body of water off Collyer Quay. The idea of Marina Bay can be traced back to the 1970s, when city planners sought to expand the city centre.

Reclamation works started as early as the 1970s, and Parliament approved a $177m project to reclaim a final 38ha of land at Telok Ayer Basin and Marina Bay in 1989.

In 1994, land reclamation in the area was completed. Today, the Bay includes several city landmarks like The Float @ Marina Bay, the Esplanade, the Singapore Flyer, the ArtScience Museum, Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Barrage, and the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

In 2019, the Draft Master Plan unveiled plans to increase housing in the city centre, including Marina South.

imageNational Day Parade 2019 fireworks display, seen from the Promontory @ Marina Bay.


Freeing up an area larger than Bishan

Paya Lebar Airbase will be moved there later on in 2030. This will free up an area about the size of Bishan - around 800ha - for new homes, offices, and factories.

Relocating the airbase also removes height restrictions around Paya Lebar and frees up the authorities to develop new and exciting plans for the eastern part of Singapore.

A new Republic of Singapore Air Force base has been planned at Changi East once the lease on Paya Lebar Airbase expires after 2030.

Singapore’s second CBD

Twenty years ago, no one would have thought of Jurong as an exciting up-and-coming town, much less “Singapore’s second CBD”. But today the transformation to Jurong Lake District is already taking shape.

A plan to turn the 360ha area around Jurong Lake and Jurong East MRT into a lakeside business, shopping and leisure destination over 10 to 15 years was set out in 2008. It was a key highlight of PM Lee’s NDR 2014 as well.

In August 2017, the URA’s draft masterplan laid out plans to create 100,000 new jobs in the area in sectors such as maritime, infrastructure and technology, as well as a further 20,000 homes - a plan that will stretch to 2040.

Today, several malls have already sprung up - JCube, Jem, Westgate and Big Box. And in 2026, Jurong will see a new 7ha integrated tourism hub that will feature a hotel, attractions, eateries and shops.

imageUpcoming plans for Jurong Lake District include a new 7ha integrated tourism hub.

imageThe 36-km Coast-to-Coast Trail and a park at Rower's Bay (above) in Lower Seletar Reservoir were launched in March 2019. The latter forms part of Round Island Route park connector which will be completed by 2035.

A City in the Garden

Singapore’s greenery has always been a mainstay in PM Lee’s NDR speeches. In 2011, he highlighted plans to create a City in the Garden by linking up green spaces islandwide, including Marina Bay, Bishan Park, and other heartland areas.

The Draft Master Plan in March 2019 showed that in 15 years, nine in 10 Singaporeans will be just a 10-minute walk away from a park, with 1,000ha more parks and park connectors across the island.

The expansion is an almost 13 per cent increase over the existing 7,800ha.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the goal is to have more than 400km of park connectors in the next 15 years, up from about 300km currently.

Major green recreational corridors include a 36km Coast-to-Coast trail linking Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the north-east, and the 24km Rail Corridor running from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

Cycling ‘round the island

Mentioned by PM Lee in NDR 2016, the Round Island Route is a 150km ring-like park connector that will be progressively completed by 2035.

Part of the route will consist of the Greater Rustic Coast, a 50km belt of parks, beaches and nature attractions that stretches from Lim Chu Kang to Changi.

Some projects springing up there include Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat. These will be enhanced as a nature park in mid-2022, and the development of a new park in Hampstead Gardens.

imageCyclists using Park Connector (PCN) along Sembawang Road.

imageThe waterway and the new communal spaces along the promenade in Punggol.

A waterfront city for the 21st century

Perhaps most representative of Singapore’s building journey is Punggol, a project that dates back to then PM Goh Chok Tong’s NDR in 1996.

The project halted due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and in 2007 PM Lee gave it a new lease of life under Punggol 21 Plus.

When he announced the re-named initiative, PM Lee showed a memorable fly-through of a simulation of what Punggol would look like.

In 2018, he showed actual footage of the realised plans for Punggol in real life, taken with a drone. The video swooped through the town, including Punggol Waterway, new housing, green areas, schools and commercial development.

Punggol residents can also look forward to a new hawker centre, regional library, childcare centre and healthcare facilities when the town hub opens in 2021.

In less than five years, Punggol North could become a mini Silicon Valley housing Singapore’s digital and cybersecurity industries. The district will also serve as a testbed for a slew of new features and planning practices.

The area will also be car-lite, with infrastructure such as parking spaces located underground. The Singapore Institute of Technology’s (SIT) new campus will also be in the district.

Adapted From The Straits Times