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13 June 2013

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) said Wednesday it is developing a new modelling tool aimed at improving its approach towards town planning.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) said Wednesday it is developing a new modelling tool aimed at improving its approach towards town planning.

The board will be doing so in collaboration with two leading European companies -- Electricite de France (EDF) and Veolia Environnement Recherche et Innovation (VERI).

An agreement for this will be signed in Bilbao, Spain on Friday during the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum.

The board said the new tool will benefit future residents in new towns such as Punggol, Bidadari, Tampines North and Tengah.

The computer modelling tool has the ability to simulate various built environments and recommend an optimal scenario to meet the desired outcome of a living environment.

The board said this is particularly useful for town planners in land scarce Singapore.

"The tool will reduce the risk of physical trial and error by providing a virtual platform for testing a planned environment before developments are actually implemented," it said.

Besides simulating and modelling 'hardware' initiatives, the research collaboration will also look into understanding the behaviour of residents.

This is because residents' behaviour can have a significant impact on how towns are designed, said the board.

The WCS Mayors Forum, co-organised by Singapore's Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will be held from 13 to 15 June. 


Retailers burning up over mall's air-con breakdown

Business hit as customers keep away from stuffy Peninsula Shopping Centre

Source: Straits Times 
By Jessica Lim Consumer Correspondent And Lester Wong

RETAILERS fanned themselves with newspapers and plugged in portable coolers while only a few customers stepped in to shop after an air-conditioning meltdown left Peninsula Shopping Centre feeling "like a furnace" yesterday.

A repair team was sent on Monday to attend to a chiller unit which sprung a leak, according to a circular sent out to tenants. It said the unit would start working properly again tomorrow.

But a spokesman for YTC Building Services, the mall's managing agent, said even then, there is no guarantee that it is "going to be 100 per cent by Friday".

When The Straits Times visited yesterday, few customers were in sight. Some tenants had left their stores to hang out at the cooler corridors. A check with 11 tenants found that business had fallen by up to 90 per cent since Monday.

Mr Tom Kalwani, 61, owner of an army goods store, said: "We are suffering. It is like a furnace in here. Many tenants are upset."

He shut his store two hours early yesterday and made only $100 in the past two days, compared to $800 on other days.

But the problem runs deeper, said several tenants, who cited stalled escalators, faulty lifts and dirty bathrooms.

Mr Neel Nanwani, 70, owner of Touch Electronics, said: "Everything is falling apart. The escalator breaks down every month, and it can take more than a month to get fixed."

He has met the management several times. "They say they are doing something, but nothing happens. This is our livelihood. Long-term business is lost."

A member of the five-storey mall's Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) council, Mr Kelvin Khubchand, admitted that the mall was "not in a good state". The council, he said, hires YTC to run the 230-unit mall. Its nine members meet every three months to try to solve issues.

He said the chiller unit started acting up three years ago. But price quotations to replace it were too high. Painting plans last year had also not materialised.

"We have funds, but everyone has a different idea on what should be done. Everyone wants to do everything at the cheapest price. We are trying our best."

The 59-year-old added that the mall's sinking fund is small as tenants pay low service fees of 83 cents per sq ft a month.

Peninsula Shopping Centre was built in 1971. A YTC spokesman said: "The air-con system is as old as the mall. Breakdowns happen all the time. We rely on contractors, and they need time."

YTC gets quotations for repairs, which are submitted to the committee for approval. It acts on the MCST's instructions.

Mr Amos Tan, a marketing and retail lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's business school, said: "In strata-titled malls, there is often discord on how funds are used. Council members are also owners, and they may be looking out for their own interests.

"Some see the long-term goal; others want only facilities near their unit upgraded. Some don't care about common spaces."

Mr Leslie Yee, 40, an accountant who visited the mall yesterday, said: "It was really warm and stuffy. I didn't want to stay for more than a few minutes. There was no ventilation at all."


We are suffering. It is like a furnace in here. Many tenants are upset.

- Mr Tom Kalwani, owner of an army goods store