New HDB estates to have more integrated greenery

Greenery at SkyTerrace@Dawson (above), part of the Dawson estate in Queenstown, and Keat Hong (left) in Choa Chu Kang. Existing mature trees within the estates are retained during construction. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, HOUSING BOARD
Greenery at SkyTerrace@Dawson (above), part of the Dawson estate in Queenstown, and Keat Hong in Choa Chu Kang. Existing mature trees within the estates are retained during construction. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI, HOUSING BOARD
Greenery at SkyTerrace@Dawson (above), part of the Dawson estate in Queenstown, and Keat Hong (left) in Choa Chu Kang. Existing mature trees within the estates are retained during construction. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, HOUSING BOARD
Greenery at SkyTerrace@Dawson, part of the Dawson estate in Queenstown, and Keat Hong (above) in Choa Chu Kang. Existing mature trees within the estates are retained during construction. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI, HOUSING BOARD

Over 80 new housing developments to have 45-60% green cover under new guidelines

HDB flat dwellers in many new estates can look forward to more green spaces. The Housing Board said it is ramping up efforts to provide more integrated foliage and greenery as part of efforts to create a liveable and sustainable environment for residents.

Over 80 new housing projects have been earmarked for this. These include Build-To-Order (BTO) developments such as Tampines GreenView, Bedok North Woods, West Plains @ Bukit Batok, Anchorvale Plains, Tampines GreenBloom and Tampines GreenFlora.

The new estates will be progressively completed from this year.

To help curate the type, location and density of the foliage in each development, HDB has introduced new greenery provision guidelines.

All new HDB developments must have a "green plot ratio" of at least 4.5, meaning the total "leaf area" of all the plants has to be 4.5 times the site area.

Calculating leaf area takes into account not just the number of plants, but also weighs factors such as trees' canopy sizes, how leafy they are and how closely they are planted.

New housing developments will also have around 45 to 60 per cent green cover, including tree cover that provides cool canopy shade for estates and their residents.

Dawson in Queenstown and Keat Hong in Choa Chu Kang are the first two estates to be built according to the new guidelines.

Dawson estate, envisioned to be "Housing in a Park", will have more than 4,300 new trees from over 70 species. Half of these have already been planted in the four completed housing projects - SkyTerrace @ Dawson, SkyVille @ Dawson, Dawson Vista and Forfar Heights.

 
 

Existing mature trees within the estates are also retained during construction.

When completed this year, the Dawson estate will have a park-like environment with all seven housing projects connected via a series of green spaces and pathways.

Mr Nitin Doshi, 55, a resident of SkyTerrace @ Dawson, said it is wonderful how greenery is used to seamlessly connect the flats to the nearby Alexandra Canal Linear Park, creating a "vibrant environment" along the park connector.

"The hanging plants on the sky terraces help the buildings feel connected to the ground and simple greenery helps to connect to the outside, which is what successful public housing should look like," said Mr Doshi, who is an urban planner and designer.

Keat Hong estate, where six new housing projects have been completed since 2016, offers roof garden spaces with amenities such as fitness corners and playgrounds that can be converted into community gardens and farms.

 
 

A network of ramps and link bridges connects residential blocks to the roof garden and the nearby neighbourhood park.

A military-inspired theme was adopted for the architecture, landscaping and play equipment to reflect the area's past as a former army camp.

HDB's landscaping efforts have evolved over the years, from simple tree planting and providing shade in the 1960s and 1970s - when the first HDB flats were built - to more sophisticated and integrated landscaping to enhance communal spaces and facilities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'New HDB estates to have more integrated greenery'. Print Edition | Subscribe