Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Myth #4 - Maximising Land Use

I've read the forum postings in both the Straits Times and the Today newspapers that advocated en-bloc sales. The strongest argument for it, aside from that of financial profit (which cannot be seen as an argument as it is politically incorrect), is that of maximising land use.

Well. If such SPs are so socially concerned about the future of Singapore's land use, then logically, in the name of maximising land use...

  • Botanic Gardens ought to be en-bloc'ed, its living residents evicted out of where it is currently located, preferably into Tuas, and the entire land area there redeveloped into private properties or foreign embassies. It is, after all, a waste of prime land*.
  • The Istana is located in prime commercial land as well. Perhaps it too should be enbloc'ed and the President evicted to Tuas. Beside the Botanic Gardens so that tourists can visit both at the same time, and enjoy the scenic factories. We can build an Integrated Resort right on the Istana property. Talk about maximising land use.
  • Religious buildings in prime land - that's a waste of space too. Let's enbloc the St Andrews Cathedral and the Armenian Church, demolish them and build mini casinos in their place.
  • Now what is that wasted empty space in the middle of the city? Oh yes, the Padang. Enbloc, destroy and rebuild in the name of maximising land use!
  • Since 85% of residential properties in Singapore are public housing flats, with the remainder private housing (the only ones allowed to undergo en-bloc), for maximal land use it would make sense to aggressively redevelop public estates on a 10 year cycle (like private en-blocs, which have an 'age requirement' of 10 yrs). Let's see how the heartland voters would feel if they were subjected to 10 year cyclical evictions.
Taken to its logical conclusion, the argument of maximising land use would imply the above redevelopments as rational choices. Yet, we don't move the Padang, the Istana, the Botanic Gardens. Why? Because of historical reasons? Because of attachment to place?

Aren't these the very same reasons that minority owners who are against enblocs wish to argue for sometimes? So why the double standard of saying that private properties should be demolished to maximise land, and yet remain silent on these other places?

The hypocrisy of greed. Tsk.

* Acknowledging another blogger who suggested this idea and I read it a long while back :) From singaporelifetimes.blogspot.com.

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