Decentralisation is a process to move people, things, power, authority away from the central location by redistributing or dispersing these functions to outer areas. In Singapore, the central part of the island is the Central Business District (CBD) where the heart of all economic activities take place. In an attempt to decentralise the CBD and central region of Singapore, the government started creating Regional Centres in various locations in Singapore.
A Regional Centre in Singapore is a second-tier commercial zone after the main CBD in the Central Area. This is about 15 times the size of a normal town centre in the Housing Development Board (HDB) towns. Currently, the Regional Centres are located in three suburban districts of Singapore, namely the Woodlands Regional Centre located at Woodlands in the North Region; the Tampines Regional Centre at Tampines in the East Region, and the Jurong East Regional Centre at Jurong East in the West Region. In future, Paya Lebar will be the next Regional Centre while Serangoon will be a Sub-Regional Centre under the Masterplan 2014.
These Regional Centres shall play a major role in the Development Guide Plan released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Regional centres are intended to decentralise the functions and services of Singapore’s Central Area. This will help to alleviate congestion in CBD and bring the workplace closer to peoples’ homes. Hence, Regional Centres serve to attract companies to set up their offices and create jobs for residents living near these Regional Centres. Regional centres primarily serve at least 800,000 people in each region, with people from other regions as a secondary concern. As Regional Centres serve to create jobs, attract the construction of new infrastructures and communities within the Regional Centres, shopping malls, hawker centres, and other forms of commercial facilities can be found within these Regional Centres.