Housing Board estates comprise not just abodes but homes. The vertical flats are far removed from the laid-back familiarity and even intimacy of village living, but they are homes nevertheless. They are repositories of life and memory in which one generation bequeaths to the next the unfolding meaning of being Singaporean. Indeed, given the vintage of Queenstown, Singapore's first housing estate, public residential precincts have acquired a national life of their own which is at least as historically authentic as kampungs once were. In the process, discrete high-rise blocks have become neighbourhoods with character.
It is imaginative of the HDB to celebrate the integrative potential of these neighbourhoods by looking to design new playgrounds that pay homage to their heritage. The latest thematic playgrounds are intended to strengthen a town's identity, give children better play experience, and encourage closer bonds between families and neighbours. They will seek to do this by commemorating a neighbourhood's history, for example its former role as a naval base, or focusing on a recognisable theme like Alice in Wonderland.