New Tengah HDB town: Getting from home to shops will be a walk in the park

One of five Tengah public housing districts, Forest Hill district will be surrounded by the forest corridor and the town's central park.
One of five Tengah public housing districts, Forest Hill district will be surrounded by the forest corridor and the town's central park. PHOTO: HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD

Tengah town centre will be set in a park and traffic will run underneath it; all roads will have walking and cycling trails

The first flats in Singapore's newest Housing Board town, Tengah, will be launched in 2018.

These will be among 30,000 eventual public housing units in the new "Forest Town" in the west.

And when the car-free town centre - Singapore's first - is built, nearby residents will be able to stroll from their flats to shops, foodcourts and the MRT station without having to cross a single road.

The town centre, named Market Place, will be set in a park and traffic will run underneath it instead. "This will make it friendlier for people and also for community activities," said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, announcing the masterplan for Tengah last night.

To encourage modes of transport other than driving, all roads in Tengah will have walking and cycling trails on both sides.

"The whole of Tengah, as we design it, will become a town that will support our car-lite vision, our vision of a greener Singapore, and a more people-friendly city," said Mr Wong.

For other transport modes, most residents will have bus stops within 300m of their homes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvrAjKkRBLg

A GREENER CITY

The whole of Tengah, as we design it, will become a town that will support our car-lite vision, our vision of a greener Singapore, and a more people-friendly city.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER LAWRENCE WONG

But the MRT will take a while to arrive, with the Jurong Region Line estimated to be completed in a decade's time.

Space has also been reserved for possible future transport use, such as providing a path for self-driving cars.

The car-free town centre is part of the Park District - one of five in Tengah. The others are Plantation, Garden, Brickland and Forest Hill. They will each have a distinct identity even as they incorporate green elements.

 
 

Said HDB chief executive officer Cheong Koon Hean: "The whole town is actually infused with greenery."

Plantation District, the first to be developed, will have a "community farmway" running through its housing estates, with gardens, play areas, fields and community farms.

Another community farmway will run through Garden District, near Tengah's 20ha Central Park.

A "forest amphitheatre" in the park will be a green gathering place and an existing canal will be transformed into a "forest stream".

Another striking feature of Tengah is a 100m-wide, 5km-long forest corridor, developed in collaboration with the National Parks Board. Within existing secondary forest - forest that grows on land previously disturbed by human activity - more rainforest trees will be planted for a richer habitat.

Tengah will also be the first entirely "smart" HDB town.

Smart features such as utilities monitoring systems, which have been piloted on a smaller scale in areas such as Yuhua, will be introduced across the entire Tengah town.

As Park District will be developed only later, Tengah's first residents will initially be without a town centre. But each district will have its own neighbourhood centres and amenities such as schools.

There will also eventually be a sports hub and a health and medical care facility.

The final two districts are Brickland, which takes inspiration from the brick factories that were set up there in the 1960s, and Forest Hill.

The latter will bring residents the closest to nature, bordered by the forest corridor on two sides and Central Park on another.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Getting from home to shops will be a walk in the park'. Print Edition | Subscribe