A community space Aljunied Crescent residents can call their own

The community space between blocks 96 and 97 in Aljunied Crescent, which now features swings, gardens and areas for people to gather. PHOTO: PARTICIPATE IN DESIGN

SINGAPORE - Residents in Aljunied Crescent now have a vibrant community space that they can call their own.

The open space between Block 96 and 97 in Aljunied Crescent has been fitted with swings, gardens and areas where the young and old can chat and hang out. Installation works for the fixtures were completed earlier in January.

It follows a series of discussions with residents, grassroot leaders, as well as seniors and staff from the Geylang East Home for the Aged on how the area can be transformed into a space that is more appealing for them.

Previously, the open area was under-utilised by residents. It was most often used by the senior citizens from the home for the aged, which is situated at Block 97.

The idea for the transformation project, also known as Welcome to Our Backyard, was championed by Ms Tin Pei Ling, MP for MacPherson, more than two years ago.

Ms Tin told The Straits Times on Saturday (Jan 14) that the transformed shared space gives residents a place for the community to get together.

"By getting the residents and community partners to share their ideas, we hope that they would feel a sense of ownership of this space."

The project was a call for the community to come together in reimagining what the space could be used for. It received $10,000 funding under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Our Favourite Place programme, which provides funding support for ideas to enliven public spaces, and $10,000 from the Housing Board's Friendly Faces, Lively Places Fund, which aims to spur residents to initiate ground-up, community-building projects.

Non-profit design consultancy Participate in Design, which was tasked to design the area, gathered feedback from residents before transforming it into a suitable place for the community.

Ms Mizah Rahman, the consultancy's director, said: "The residents were often open and curious, and they longed for a place that connects both the young and the old."

Residents hope the transformed space would bring back the kampung spirit. Security supervisor Salbiah Liza Talib, 64, who has been living in Block 96 for the past four years, said the area used to be dull and quiet. "There wasn't a space where we could gather and talk to each other.

"Now, I can come down to relax and get to know my neighbours better. Hopefully, more people will come here, chit-chat and also look out for one another."

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