The first housing district in the upcoming "forest town" of Tengah will have the distinct identity of being the home of community gardening, and get a farmway to bolster that claim.
On a broader scale, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who unveiled the plans for Tengah, also launched the first of 24 design guidelines that will shape the unique identity of every HDB town for decades to come. Yesterday's guide was a vision for Woodlands, while the rest will be rolled out over five years.
Mr Wong also showed a video about how Plantation, the first of five housing districts in Tengah, could shape up. Occupying 90ha, about the size of Bidadari, it sits in the southernmost part of Tengah bounded by the Pan-Island Expressway and Bukit Batok Road, and will contain 10,000 flats when completed. The first tranche of 1,500 flats will be launched in November.
The highlight of the district is a 700m-long, 40m-wide farmway - the first for an HDB town - which weaves through the housing precincts.
Paying homage to the villages, fruit tree plantations and farms in Tengah in the 1950s, the bulk of the farmway - about 2,000 sq m - has been set aside for community gardens, the Housing Board said.
This is in addition to the community gardens within individual public housing projects.
"We know there are a lot of Singaporeans who like gardening... so we want to give an opportunity for them to do it more extensively," said HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean. If popular, it could be replicated elsewhere, she said.
Singapore Institute of Architects president Seah Chee Huang said such ideas inject "another level of meaning and richness" to the town's identity.
Identities for all 24 HDB towns will be carved out through design guides.
Each guide will chronicle a town's history, vision and distinct character, so as to help future HDB consultants, government agencies and town councils unify the town's future developments.
It will also offer design principles on three scales: the town, neighbourhood and precinct.
Between them they will spell out everything from the town's overall vision to the colour palette of the buildings to the type of playgrounds it should have.
"The guide will set out the planning urban design and architectural intent of each town, including its distinctive character and heritage," said Mr Wong.
The distinctions between different towns were spelt out yesterday.
Mr Wong had touched on Punggol and its waterfront living. Woodlands, which got its name from keranji trees, would stay faithful to the wooded theme. Tengah would be the town of forests and gardens.
Even when away from the main spine of the district, Plantation residents will still be near nature.
For example, a 15m-to 20m-wide "forest fringe" will envelop nearby blocks in greenery, and void decks will be orientated to maximise these views.
Tengah will also be a car-lite town, and Plantation will be served by two MRT stations along the upcoming Jurong Regional Line.
Bus stops will be within 300m of most homes, while all roads will have dedicated cycling paths. Self-driving cars will be piloted later.
Tengah, previously used as a military training ground, is Singapore's first new town in more than 20 years after Punggol. It will take around 20 years to develop, and will house about 42,000 residential flats when completed.
It has been planned with smart technologies from the outset.
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