Turn Dakota Crescent into arts, sports hub

I support efforts to save the Singapore Improvement Trust flats in Dakota Crescent from the wrecking ball ("Group making a case to save Dakota Crescent"; May 25).

Their architectural and aesthetic qualities are unique and superior to those of the utilitarian Housing Board slab blocks at the nearby Kampong Arang, making the latter far more deserving of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme.

A rejuvenated Kampong Arang, comprising a future-ready public housing estate which harnesses the vibe of the Sports Hub and Goodman Arts Centre, should interest home buyers.

The blocks in Dakota Crescent can be selectively re-adapted.

The blocks between Dakota Crescent and Mountbatten Road can be transformed into interim housing, with childcare facilities, for first-time home buyers who are awaiting the keys to their new flats.

The blocks between Dakota Crescent and Jalan Enam can be converted into "hacker houses" for our burgeoning start-up community, studios for artists and designers - as an annex to the Goodman Arts Centre - as well as short-term rentals.

A performance space, central kitchen/canteen, convenience store and community club can showcase the neighbourhood's heritage, the works of its resident artists and designers, as well as meet a diversity of other needs.

There is no doubt that Dakota Crescent and Kampong Arang have the potential to be a vibrant place to live, work and play in.

This can inject fresh impetus for the development of the Kallang Basin-Marina East area into a striking arts/sports-based lifestyle and tourism hub.

I hope the Urban Redevelopment Authority and HDB can exercise more flair and imagination in what constitutes "living the good life", and facilitate the growth of neighbourhoods with their own identity and character.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'Turn Dakota Crescent into arts, sports hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe