So you thought the little red dot was just a small island a few miles away from the equator… Think twice. Singapore is not made of one but about 60 islands!

About“? why “about”?  Well, the number changes. It does not fluctuate because of the tide but… because of the land reclamation. Every time one island gets connected to another one… it is technically not an island anymore. Jurong (now a 7 in one island) and Tekhong in particular have expanded and been connected to smaller islands. Land reclamation in Singapore now amounts to 20% additional space from the original land!

It’s not yet finished. The URA plans to gain another extra 15% of land through land reclamation. However, land reclamation has limitations (it becomes more complex and expensive as you go further offshore) and Singapore also needs water for its port activities (not to mention the tensions it creates with its neighbors). So to support the population growth the other solution is… density. If you cannot gain more space horizontally, you need to look up. Building taller buildings, closer one to the other. Compare how many people you can host in 10 black and white houses and a 40 stories tower… For the same space used on the ground, you can probably multiply the number of units and residents by a few times. Sky is the limit! Isn’t it?

Well, yes… and no. You can expand vertically in 2 directions. Not only up. Do you know what is under your feet? There are many things underground and the URA plans to make a better use of the underground space. Infrastructures, utilities, data centers .. who knows what is running under your bed… What about a 1.5 million cubical meters of oil storage space, (about 580 Olympic-sized pools) more than 100 meters below the surface… Impossible you think? Well, you should take a look at the Jurong Rock Cavern. Because it’s very unlikely that you will ever be able to visit this site, you can discover it through the eyes of this CNN reporter: http://travel.cnn.com/singapore/life/jurong-rock-caverns-billion-dollar-hole-ground-381834

And of course, if you are too scared to stay in Singapore now that you know, you’d better book your next trip fast!