HDB Community Week 2016 – Fostering Community Participation and Ownership
Residents in Bedok can look forward to more vibrant social spaces and better connectivity with the completion of the Bedok Town Plaza and the upgraded Bedok Town Centre Pedestrian Mall. Launched today by Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong and local Adviser to GROs, Mr Lee Yi Shyan at the HDB Community Week 2016, the improvements are part of HDB’s rejuvenation efforts for Bedok town under its Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme.
2 The Bedok Town Plaza is the first of HDB’s new generation town plazas to be completed. A key feature of the ROH rejuvenation plans, the plaza is well integrated with the surrounding developments, such as the Bedok Mall and the integrated transport hub, the hawker centre and the upgraded Pedestrian Mall. A Heritage Corner, capturing the rich history of East Coast is also located alongside the town plaza.
3 Apart from the integration with the surrounding facilities in terms of “hardware”, a key feature of the new generation town plaza is the “software” aspect, where residents’ involvement is instrumental to keeping the town plazas vibrant and active.
4 To encourage community involvement and ownership, HDB sought residents’ views on the type of activities they hoped to see at the new plaza, as well as a suitable name for it. About 1,000 residents participated in the exercise, with many sharing that they hope to see outdoor movie screenings, mass yoga sessions and performances being held at the plaza. Among some 60 names proposed for the new plaza, “Bedok Town Square” came up tops.
5 To kick-start the process of community involvement, HDB has formed a local Town Plaza Activation Team (AT) with local community partners, to actively look into the activities that could be held to bring residents together to interact and bond. This is the first time that an AT has been set up for a town plaza.
6 HDB is developing two other town plazas at Punggol and Yishun under the ROH programme. Punggol Town Plaza is located along My Waterway@Punggol, north of Waterway Point/ Watertown and is estimated to be completed in 2nd half 2016. Yishun Town Plaza, located within Yishun Town Centre next to the mixed development (named Northpoint City) integrated with the bus interchange and community club, is estimated to be completed in 1st half 2018. On top of Town Plazas, HDB is also building sheltered Community Plazas in its new generation neighbourhood centres, to foster community bonding. The first of such Community Plazas is found in Kampung Admiralty, which is estimated to complete in 1st half 2017.
7 HDB will similarly set up ATs at these new Town and Community Plazas to encourage greater community ownership and involvement in the use of these plazas. The ATs will ensure that the activities and events held at the plazas meet the needs of the local residents.
8 To encourage residents to initiate projects that contribute to the building of active and cohesive communities, HDB will be setting aside $500,000 over a 5-year period under a new “HDB Friendly Faces, Lively Places Fund”. The fund is an expansion of HDB’s Good Neighbours Project initiative.
9 Each project can apply for funding of up to $10,000 from HDB. To be eligible for funding, the project must involve diverse groups and individuals in the community, such as youths, seniors and businesses. It must also be able to generate community participation or “match” of up to 30% of the amount of funding applied for. This can be in the form of volunteering hours, professional services or equipment. The actual activity or event must be free and open to all members of the public. The fund will be made available all year round.
10 HDB has also completed the upgrading of the Pedestrian Mall at the Bedok Town Centre in March 2016, at a cost of about $3 million, under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. The integrated 320-metre long pedestrian mall is flanked by shops and F&B outlets on both sides. It provides seamless connectivity to the upcoming developments in the Town Centre, such as the new Bedok Integrated Complex. Enhancements to the mall include improved signages, provision of gentle ramps, landscaped areas for enhanced greenery and street furniture such as seats for the public. The Pedestrian Mall also injects greater vibrancy into the area and enhances the shopping experience for residents. About 200 retailers in Bedok Town Centre have benefitted from the improvements made to the Pedestrian Mall.
11 The Good Neighbours Project (GNP), which aims to facilitate and inspire ground-up initiatives that encourage neighbourliness, has entered its third run this year. More than 90 project proposals were received this year, with 28 shortlisted for implementation. Awards will be presented to projects from 12 winning teams (3 from the community category and 9 from the student category – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary). Participants will share their ideas and their experience in carrying out their projects at the exhibition. Teams under the GNP ‘Community’ and ‘Youth’ category have submitted proposals to apply for seed funding of up to $1,000 to implement their projects.
12 HDB has launched the third round of HDB’s ‘Celebrating LIFE in the Heartlands’ Photography Competition with a new ‘Instagram’ category. Through the competition, we hope to encourage residents to explore their towns and bring out the distinctive character of HDB towns through their camera lenses, creating a greater sense of attachment to their homes and community. The competition received a total of 2,204 entries – 1,214 entries for the ‘Instagram’ category and 990 entries for the ‘Open’ category. There is a total of 14 winning entries per category comprising Top 3 prizes, 10 Merit prizes and a ‘People’s Choice’ Award.
13 As part of HDB’s efforts in building cohesive communities, the Community Building Seminar and Build-a-thon 2016 were also held in May 2016 at Kampong Chai Chee Community Centre. Into the third run this year, the theme of this year’s seminar is ‘Building Communities through Pop-Ups’, which also aligns with one of the tracks in the SGfuture Conversation Series, on Vibrant Community Spaces. It looks into how vibrancy can be brought to common spaces in HDB estates through quick, light, and scalable design interventions, installations, and programming.
14 Participants for the Build-a-thon also designed innovative solutions to create a lively Bedok Town Plaza. In conceptualising their ideas, the participants observed the neighbourhood and interviewed residents and key stakeholders to better understand the aspirations and visions of the community for Bedok Town Plaza. Three winning teams will be awarded cash vouchers and the prototypes of their ideas are exhibited at the HDB Community Week 2016. Members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite idea.
15 In its fifth year, Community Week is part of HDB’s efforts to create community-centric towns, by encouraging residents to go beyond being a friendly neighbour to taking ownership of their community. HDB Community Week will run from 20 – 29 May 2016.