Underground science city in S'pore feasible: study

by Cheryl Tay

Recent studies suggest the feasibility of the development of the very first underground science city in Singapore, which could feature 40 linked rock caverns that will accommodate data centres as well as research and development (R&D) facilities.

These findings from a study commissioned by the government in 2009 and completed in March 2012 were presented at the 13th World Conference of Associated Research Centres for Urban Underground Space.

The underground science city could comprise rock caverns under Kent Ridge Park (pictured) and is projected to accommodate up to 4,200 researchers, scientists and other professionals.

Experts at the event also noted that other underground projects can be carried out in Singapore, including a landfill which will contain around 40 years' worth of garbage.

However, the two papers from the study presented last week did not estimate the cost of the project and merely focused on its technical feasibility.

Additionally, the latest study conducted by a Swiss-Singapore consortium of two firms was based upon Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) research in 1999 that looked into the possibility of an underground science city which would connect three above-ground science parks in the area.

Notably, the consortium came up with a design for 40 linked rock caverns, each with a cross-section of about 500 sq m and about 25 m high. Overall, the caverns would have 192,000 sq m of rentable space across three or four levels — nearly double the retail space at VivoCity.

Furthermore, the research recommended using the caverns for data centres, as well as IT, biotechnology and life sciences R&D.

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