New Century Cities
Case Studies - one-north
Location: Singapore (Buona
Size: 450 acres (200 hectares)
Dates of Planning and Development: 1995 to the present
Developer: Jurong Town Corporation
Vision: To create a community for Singapore that builds on four guiding pillars:
- unique identity;
- and seamless connection.
one-north is conceived as a place for the meeting of minds, where researchers, innovators, business angels, venture capitalists, corporate leaders and other "technopreneurs inspire and are inspired."1
Originally conceived as Buona Vista Science Park, one-north has developed far beyond the traditional office park. In 1995, Singapore's Science Hub Steering Committee set a goal to develop a creative community centered on knowledge-based industries and the idea of innovation ecology, or efficient information sharing. A comprehensive mixed-use approach was taken to create office clusters that are interconnected by pockets of housing, live-work spaces, retail spaces, and parks. Transit stations and convenient highway access, both existing and planned, attach one-north to central Singapore. More than just "live-work," this community aims for a "live-work-play-learn" mix of uses.
one-north is a short subway ride from central Singapore. The project is close to the National University of Singapore, schools, science parks, a hospital, and residential areas. Three main Xchanges have been planned and are in various phases of completion and construction. Life Xchange is a cluster for biomedical research, also known as Biopolis. Vista Xchange provides business and personal services around the Buona Vista transit station. Central Xchange houses media, entertainment, and ICT companies. Fusionpolis, located within Central Xchange, is a base for media enterprises looking to test new technology applications in users' everyday lives. Finally, Phase Z.Ro offers temporary, cost-effective start-up space for new technology companies. There is room to grow around each cluster, as well as spaces planned for future Xchanges. The development of these separate hubs, as opposed to one central core, was intentional. one-north is meant to fuse together as it grows, allowing memorable urban space to shape itself over time.
The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), a quasi-governmental developer of industrial space, was commissioned by the Government to lead the one-north project. JTC was formed in the late 1960s as a developer of petroleum and petrochemical processing plants on Singapore's Jurong Island. The organization eventually expanded its scope to include science parks, start-up office space, and housing. Several government boards advise one-north, including the Economic Development Board, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and the Singapore Land Authority. The principal national ministries involved are Trade and Industry, National Development, and Law. However, JTC has the necessary authority and operational independence to implement the one-north plan. Private developers and technology firms are involved in one-north through an RFI and RFP process. Opportunities include construction, ownership, and operation of biomedical research facilities, a business hotel, and ICT infrastructure and service contracts. In 2003, the information-communication technology contract for the Biopolis Phase 1 was awarded to NCS, an ICT service provider.
one-north's mix of uses are carefully selected, clustered, and interconnected. Flexible zoning allows for new urban patterns and a fine grain of mixed uses. A context for interaction is offered, providing an environment conducive to spontaneous, serendipitous interactions between groups that might not otherwise meet. Events and programs provide occasions for these meetings, now that the spaces have been developed. The master plan creates even more opportunities for human interaction by paying attention to interstitial spaces. Streets are narrow and pedestrian-friendly. A "green river" park connects clusters. Through planning and design, one-north aims to bring together talented people, which in turn will generate interesting interconnections and "knowledge accidents."2
- one-north Brochure. Biopolis: Beyond Infinity. Undated.
- Seitinger, Susanne. (2004). Spaces of Innovation: 21st Century Technopoles. Master's Thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.