HDB Community Week 2015 - Celebrating Strong Community Ties as Toa Payoh turns 50
The HDB Community Week 2015 was launched today at HDB Hub Mall by Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan. In its fifth year, Community Week is part of HDB’s overall strategy to create community-centric towns, by encouraging residents to go beyond owning their flat to owning their community. HDB Community Week will run from 22 – 31 May 2015.
2 At last year’s Community Week, HDB announced the findings from the HDB-NUS research study on the impact of the built environment on community bonding. Since then, HDB has prototyped the social linkway and neighbourhood incubator concepts in Tampines (“Hello Neighbour @ Tampines“), involving more than 1,000 residents and stakeholders in designing these new social spaces.
3 The participants identified places that could be rejuvenated to become vibrant community spaces. These include a neighbourhood incubator at Tampines Central Block 857, which is envisioned to be a multi-functional area for residents; as well as a social link way at Tampines Central Blocks 830 to 863, comprising four parts – the Green Link, Play Link, Learning Link and Art Link.
4 The Green Link forms the entrance of the linkway and features spaces for community gardening. The void deck at Block 839 will be converted into a Learning Link, with a cosy reading and kopi corner. Under the Play Link, the area next to the existing playground and basketball court will be given a fresh lease of life with a new circular hardcourt and additional seats. Finally, the Art Link showcases murals and/or art pieces by the community. Part of the Art Link has been completed and the rest of the spaces will be completed in 3Q2015. HDB will assess the impact of these community spaces on bonding, and explore how these spaces could be implemented in other HDB estates.
5 While new ideas for infrastructure are being explored in Tampines to strengthen community bonds, Toa Payoh – the first HDB-built satellite town in Singapore – is testament that community-centric design and a strong sense of belonging are key success factors for a thriving estate that will grow from strength to strength with time.
6 Construction on the first HDB flats in Toa Payoh started in 1965, making this year its 50th anniversary. The town was intended as a model for future satellite towns, and envisioned as a self-sufficient community, with its own housing, offices, schools, shops, hawker centres, recreational and transport facilities. These amenities not only create opportunities for residents to interact and bond in the course of daily life, they have also helped built a shared and lasting identity among Toa Payoh residents.
7 Even as Toa Payoh matures, the town will continue to evolve to stay relevant and vibrant. Toa Payoh is set to be transformed under HDB’s Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. Some of the plans for Toa Payoh announced in March this year include a rejuvenation of the town centre and town park.
8 Beyond the physical transformation, the remaking plans will also focus on the “heartware”. Existing facilities will be enhanced and new features introduced to foster even stronger community ties. To give residents greater ownership of their community, HDB will be holding a series of focus group discussions in June to gather feedback and ideas from the residents on the remaking plans. Through their sharing, HDB hopes to better define the identity of each town from the perspective of the residents; as well as identify the public spaces in the town that are important to them, and how they could be improved to promote interaction and build stronger ties among residents.
9 The Toa Payoh community is also set to grow, in tandem with the upcoming plans for Bidadari, which is an extension of Toa Payoh town. Bidadari will be developed to house an estimated 11,000 households, with a mix of about 90% public and 10% private housing units. The focus on building strong communities will continue to be a priority in Bidadari. For instance, among the community spaces in this town is Bidadari Park, which will be a picturesque setting for residents’ outdoor activities; and the Bidadari greenway extending the length of the estate will have rest spots, and commercial and social communal facilities.
10 In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Toa Payoh, Minister Khaw launched the electronic photo book, “Friendly Faces, Lively Places: Toa Payoh in Pictures, 1965 – 2015” today. Through close to 200 photos, the e-book chronicles Toa Payoh’s key milestones, enduring community bonds, as well as the rejuvenation efforts over the past 50 years. The e-book is available on the HDB Community Week 2015 website. The public can also visit the HDB Community Week exhibition, to view a selection of the photographs published in the book.
11 The Good Neighbours Award (GNA) recognises residents who go the extra mile with gracious and neighbourly acts. More than 2,900 entries were received this year, and some of these outstanding neighbours will be honoured at the GNA 2015 Ceremony, which will take place on 23 May 2015. Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development, Lee Yi Shyan, will be the Guest-of-Honour for the event.
12 As youths play an important role in encouraging responsible heartland living among their peers and juniors, HDB also actively engages schools and students to promote gracious and responsible living in the heartland.
13 HDB has also developed a second pre-school storybook – “Maddie’s New Neighbours” - to reach out to preschoolers on the importance of being a good neighbour. This book is a sequel to the first story book “Maddie Makes Friends” that was launched last year. Six members of the Heartland Ambassadors Alumni worked with a local author and illustrator to develop the book, which will be distributed to participating schools and libraries.
14 This year’s Community Week will also feature outstanding projects under the Good Neighbours Project (Youth), which aims to facilitate and inspire ground-up initiatives by youth to galvanise the community. Nine outstanding teams (out of 20 shortlisted) will share their ideas and their experience in carrying out their projects at the exhibition.
15 Co-creation is paramount in community engagement, which aims to instill a sense of ownership among residents. HDB Community Week 2015 will feature three community-designed projects that have been conceptualised and implemented progressively over the last few years:
· “Hello Neighbour@ Tampines“ project;
· Building Our Neighbourhood’s Dreams” (BOND!) project; and
· Siglap East’s Walls of Inspiration (one of the winning ideas that arose from HDB Build-a-thon 2014)