Published Date: 22 Apr 2017
Toa Payoh, the first satellite town planned and built by HDB, will be refreshed with a series of enhancements under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. Minister for Defence and Adviser to Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC GROs, Dr Ng Eng Hen, announced this at the launch of the ROH exhibition for Toa Payoh held at the HDB Hub Atrium today. The improvements will give this mature town another makeover, following its rejuvenation under the Estate Renewal Strategy in the 1990s.
2 The ROH programme, first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2007, aims to transform the heartlands into distinctive and endearing homes for Singaporeans. Nine towns and estates have since been identified for renewal – namely Punggol, Dawson and Yishun in 2007; East Coast, Hougang and Jurong Lake in 2011; and the latest batch – Woodlands, Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris – in 2015.
3 In drawing up the renewal plans for the latest batch of towns, HDB conducted a series of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with residents in the three towns to better understand what improvements they hope to have. With their feedback, HDB has refined the plans to ensure that the plans will benefit residents of all ages.
Toa Payoh – A Town of Many Firsts
4 Once a big swampland littered with squatter huts and kampungs, Toa Payoh is the first satellite town planned and built by HDB in the 1960s. Over the past five decades, its development has mirrored Singapore’s progress, and kept pace with the needs of residents. In 2002, as part of the Government’s Estate Renewal Strategy, it was the first town to have a fully air-conditioned bus interchange integrated with the MRT station. In 2005, the first 40-storey HDB blocks in Singapore were also built in the town.
5 This constant renewal has ensured that Toa Payoh remains a vibrant town, where residents can continue to enjoy better facilities and a quality living environment, without having to uproot themselves from the community they have grown familiar with.
Six Key Strategies to Inject New Life and Preserve the Charm of Toa Payoh
6 The ROH plans for Toa Payoh are aimed at preserving the charm and rich heritage of this mature town, which was listed as one of the 50 places most cherished by Singaporeans in the SG Heart Map in 2015.
7 Six key strategies have been drawn up to reinvigorate Toa Payoh as follows:
Enhancing the vibrancy of the Town Centre
New housing developments to rejuvenate Toa Payoh’s townscape
Rejuvenating neighbourhood spaces to enhance community bonding
Celebrating Toa Payoh’s rich history and heritage
Enhancing the Toa Payoh Ring Road
Improving intra-town connectivity
Enhancing the Vibrancy of the Town Centre
8 The Town Centre, which has served the needs of residents since 1970s, will be given a makeover to enhance its attractiveness and provide a more comfortable shopping experience for residents. The 440-metre Pedestrian Mall, stretching from the 25-storey point block Blk 175 to the Toa Payoh Public Library, and to the open plaza fronting HDB Hub and Courts furniture store, will be upgraded to provide a more comfortable pedestrian experience. With the addition of landscaping, more seating spaces, and sheltered rest areas, it will offer a more conducive environment for community interaction.
The revamped Pedestrian Mall will enable residents to rest, relax and interact with the community more comfortably
9 The open plaza in front of HDB and Courts will be transformed into a vibrant landscaped public plaza, with flexible open spaces that the community can use, while the plaza in front of the library will be landscaped with more seating areas, and possibly a water play feature that residents can enjoy.
The open plaza will be enhanced with more greenery and flexible open spaces that make it more conducive for community gatherings
New recreational and social spaces will be created at the Town Centre to give it a boost, making it a more vibrant place for the community
New Housing Developments to Rejuvenate Toa Payoh’s Townscape
10 As part of the rejuvenation plans, new public housing projects will be introduced in Caldecott and Toa Payoh East. The housing development in Caldecott will be well-connected to the Caldecott MRT station, the Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre, as well as recreational hotspots such as parks and the MacRitchie Reservoir; while in Toa Payoh East, the housing project will have convenient access to the existing Neighbourhood Centres, the Toa Payoh South Community Centre, Polyclinic and parks.
New housing to be built in Caldecott will provide convenient access to amenities
11 Depending on their design, the housing projects in Caldecott and Toa Payoh East could yield a few thousand units. Further details of these projects will be made available when the plans are finalised. When completed, these new housing projects will inject new facilities that will benefit the surrounding residents. They will also offer new and younger families the opportunity of living in Toa Payoh, making the town even more vibrant.
Rejuvenating Neighbourhood Spaces to Enhance Community Bonding
12 The five HDB Neighbourhood Centres (NCs), which serve as social hubs for residents to gather and connect over their daily activities, will also be rejuvenated. The improvements include landscaping, façade makeovers, and provision of more multi-generational facilities such as children’s play areas or elderly exercise corners. With these improvements, residents can look forward to a more pleasant overall experience, as they go about their daily shopping needs or chat with other residents in the neighbourhood over activities.
13 For the comfort of seniors living in Toa Payoh, the common areas within the NCs will be made more senior-friendly and inclusive. For example, paving will be levelled, and features such as ramps and handrails will be installed. New cycling-friendly features such as bicycle racks will be strategically located around the NCs for the convenience of cyclists.
All five Neighbourhood Centres in Toa Payoh will be upgraded to include new multi-generational features such as play areas, resting pavilions and lush landscaping
14 In addition, two existing neighbourhood parks within Toa Payoh will be upgraded with more green spaces, and new amenities such as therapeutic gardens and seating areas.
Selected Neighbourhood Parks will be upgraded with more green spaces for leisure and community bonding
15 To provide more community spaces for residents to come together, pedestrian spines across the town that are frequently-used by residents could be revitalised as ‘social linkways’, where residents can linger over activities. Depending on what residents prefer, space could be set aside at these social nodes for art installations, community gardens, reading corners, or community cafés.
Celebrating Toa Payoh’s Rich History and Heritage
16 In response to residents’ request to preserve Toa Payoh’s heritage, the ROH plans will also celebrate the town’s rich heritage and distinct charm. The elevated garden fronting Block 184 within the Town Centre, will be transformed into Toa Payoh’s own Arts and Heritage Corner. The revamped garden will contain storyboards that showcase the history of town planning for Toa Payoh, and information panels to encourage the appreciation of public art works within the Town Centre. A model of Toa Payoh Town Centre in the 1970s will also be on display so residents can see first-hand the transformation of the town. With new outdoor seating areas and greened trellises, the Arts and Heritage Corner will also double up as a tranquil rest stop for residents and visitors.
The new Arts and Heritage Corner at the Town Centre will showcase the rich history of Toa Payoh
17 Heritage markers will also be installed throughout the town, to commemorate special people, places or events in Toa Payoh. Some of the places that have been selected for special mention include the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground and the unique Y block (Block 53) that has hosted many distinguished foreign dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II. Residents will also have the opportunity to co-create new heritage spaces by contributing ideas for signature playgrounds in identified neighbourhood parks. Such efforts are aimed at encouraging inter-generational conversation about the memories and stories of Toa Payoh that residents cherish.
Enhancing the Toa Payoh Ring Road
18 Much of Toa Payoh is connected by a ring road, bounded by Lorong 1 and 6 Toa Payoh. This 4-kilometre-long ring road will be enlivened with the creation of a Nature Way, lined with lush greenery to soften the built environment, while providing a scenic route to walk and jog along. Designed to replicate the natural structure of forests, this Nature Way will feature plant species that reflect Toa Payoh’s agricultural past, with plants such as nutmeg and pepper to be cultivated. Flowering plants will also be planted to attract birds and butterflies, thereby enhancing the biodiversity of the area.
The 4-kilometre-long ring road will be enlivened with lush greenery, while providing a scenic route to walk and jog along.
19 Additionally, seven new pocket parks will be introduced along the route, with added amenities like fitness stations and community spaces. The parks will be universally designed to cater to residents of all ages, and will be easily accessible by foot or bicycle.
The pocket park in front of Block 157 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh will feature landscaped spaces with plants and furniture inspired by popular motifs in Toa Payoh.
Improving Intra-town Connectivity
20 Walkability within the town will also be enhanced for a better pedestrian experience. Residents can look forward to the provision of more sheltered walkways, cycling paths and supporting features e.g. bicycle crossings. To make it easier and safer for senior residents, Silver Zones will be designated at two locations – Lorong 8/ Lorong 8A Toa Payoh and Lorong 5 Toa Payoh. These Silver Zones will have road safety features to remind motorists to slow down and look out for pedestrians, and more visible markings to urge senior pedestrians to check that the roads are clear before crossing.
Remaking Our Heartland Exhibition
21 The ROH proposals for Toa Payoh will be exhibited at the HDB Hub Atrium from Saturday, 22 Apr 2017 (4pm to 9pm) to Sunday, 7 May 2017 (9am to 9pm). The public may also view the exhibition on the HDB InfoWEB (www.hdb.gov.sg) and share their feedback online.
22 With the feedback, HDB will refine the proposals together with the various government agencies, such that the eventual rejuvenation of the town will benefit as many residents as possible.