Land for just 3 cents per square metre!

Posted on: 02 April, 2009 | Tagged as: , , , ,

A group of residents of Bukit Panjang have been farming on state-owned land in their neighbourhood thanks to the cheap monthly rent offered by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). According to a Lianhe Zaobao report, SLA has been allowing such community initiatives take over these empty plots of land at lower than market rates since 2002 with its Temporary Occupation License. At just three cents per square metre, renting land the size of a soccer field would cost $210 a month as compared to the prevailing market rates of up to $2800.Besides farming, communities have also set up basketball courts, mini gardens and facilities for archery at 190 sites all over the island.

SLA said that rather than let these empty plots that are marked for future use remain unused, it decided to open them up for community use on a temporary basis. The only conditions are that the land is well-maintained and not use for commercial purposes. Currently, it has 14,000 hectares worth of such land, the equivalent of 20,000 soccer fields and you can find a full list of where they are here.

It is great to hear that the state is thinking beyond economics in land use as Prof Ho Kong Chong argued, and it reminds us of our folks in Balik Kampung. We’ll like to hear more communities take the initiative in deciding how to use the space around them. Tell us if you’re involved in such a community or you have plans to start one!