Research on the Iterative Development of TOD Community: from Singapore's Neighborhood Center Complex to China's “Future Community”


  • Ronglu Yang Zhejiang University
  • Kang Cao Zhejiang University


Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), Future Community, traffic complex, public transportation, community planning




 The TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) model, originating in the 1990s from the New Urbanism in the United States, is a transit-oriented model based on high-density, diverse, and livable design that contributes to a functionally balanced and dynamic community environment. Since its inception, the TOD model has found widespread application globally, adapting to diverse social, cultural, and institutional contexts. In Europe, cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen have embraced this model. Asian countries such as Singapore and China have also joined the trend over the past decade. In Zhejiang Province, China, a so-called “Future Community” (FC) model, initiated in 2019, has made TOD a central focus. The FCs are possible for innovative development as TOD communities with the premise of being surrounded by transportation hubs. We call such communities TOD-oriented Future Communities (TOD-oriented FCs). Its initiative draws inspiration from Singapore's rich experiences in community development while undergoing several iterations of innovation, creating a locally distinctive TOD community model. Our principal aim is to conduct a preliminary exploration of the planning, construction, and iterative mechanisms of this new-type community oriented by the TOD model.

We delve into four cases: one case in Singapore and three cases in China. Specifically, Singapore's case is the Neighborhood Center Complex, and three cases in China are the “Guali Colorfully FC”, the “Yangliu Jun FC”, and the “Future City FC”. Singapore's TOD community transformed in iterations to TOD-oriented FC in China. The advancement of TOD-oriented FC in China underwent three stages: learning, piloting, and spreading. (1) In the learning stage, the colorful town in Guali borrowed insights from Singapore's TOD community, evolving into an initial TOD new town based on a bus terminal, surrounded by residential areas. (2) In the piloting stage, the local government, Zhejiang Provincial government, created the FC model with the colorful town as a template. The “Yangliu Jun FC” was among the first batch of pilots which was TOD-oriented FC. (3) In the subsequent spreading stage, the local government made efforts to create high-quality, replicable templates based on two batches of pilots, with “Future City FC” leading the way, accelerating Zhejiang Province's development of the TOD-oriented FCs. During the piloting and spreading phases, the TOD-oriented FCs are fundamentally guided by the principle of establishing urban transportation hub complexes based on subway stations.

Our research results indicate that, through multiple generations of practice in TOD-oriented FCs, there have been iterative optimizations in various aspects, such as transportation connection, construction scale, functions, and operational mechanisms. Regarding transportation, the community development evolved from a bus station-centric TOD model to a model based on rail transit stations. This transformation involved promoting vertical development and establishing a stereoscopic traffic transfer system. Regarding scale, the total architectural development volume of the community gradually expanded, with increased population influx effects. Regarding functions, leveraging TOD complexes, the community enhanced commercial and public service functions. It also supplemented entrepreneurial offices, cultural tourism, and intelligent management, gradually forming a multi-functional TOD community that meets diverse needs, including residence, employment, shopping, entertainment, and travel. Regarding operation, the community transitioned from a “government-led” approach to a collaborative “government-enterprise partnership with social participation” model, involving multiple stakeholders in community governance.

However, the construction and development of TOD-oriented FCs are also faced with some paradoxes and challenges. For communities, excessive population flow could lead to issues such as noise and security problems, reflecting a contradiction between the outward nature of the TOD model and the inward-focused residential functionality of communities.

In summary, our research provides a thorough analysis of the iterative development of TOD communities, seeking a more scientifically rational development path and offering insights for optimizing communities worldwide.