SINGAPORE: The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (Sep 4) announced it will progressively roll out over the next five years 24 “design guides” for each of its towns, beginning with Woodlands in the north.
Each guide will be a unique, comprehensive document broken down into three different levels – town, neighbourhood and precinct. It will provide a common reference point for different agencies, town councils and design consultants as they implement both new developments as well as rejuvenation projects for the town throughout its life cycle, said HDB in a press release.
“With different agencies and the town councils carrying out regular enhancements and improvements throughout the life cycle of the town, it is important to align all the different agencies’ efforts and ensure a coherent design and town identity,” said HDB’s chief executive officer Cheong Koon Hean.
“In this way, we continue to strengthen the identity of each town, preserve the distinctive local flavour, and deepen the sense of belonging among residents to their home.”
HDB said Woodlands was selected first to illustrate how the design guides can be applied to an existing town which is undergoing rejuvenation.
“The name (Woodlands) originated from the many Keranji trees that dotted the coastline, which when viewed from the Johor side of the Straits, gave the area a heavily wooded appearance,” HDB explained. “When planning for Woodlands began in 1966, a ‘wooded’ theme was chosen for the town, to reflect its history and the gentle undulating terrain of the area.”
As an example of how this historical identity will be preserved during town planning, HDB pointed to the upcoming WoodsVista Gallery, a 1.9 kilometre-long community link “set amidst lush greenery, allowing residents to walk, jog or cycle seamlessly from the Woodlands MRT station to the Woodlands Waterfront”.
This “wooded” theme is further divided into five sub-themes at the neighbourhood level. For instance, HDB explained, Woodlands Central’s facade designs will have a suggested palette of light greys with contemporary accents of deeper greys and browns, in keeping with an “urban” sub-theme.
At the precinct level, playgrounds in the same area can be designed with the use of bright colours and sculptural elements to bring out a “bold and vibrant character”.
“As the designs of public housing evolve, more attention will be paid to infusing character and identity into the towns,” said HDB. “The introduction of a town design guide for each town marks a key milestone in our journey towards well-designed, sustainable and community-centric towns.
“Going forward, HDB will continue to seek out new planning concepts and design ideas to create towns with strong identities to foster a strong sense of place and belonging for Singaporeans.”