Tengah to live up to its name as the 'Forest Town'

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 8 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — Tengah new town in the western part of Singapore is expected to live up to its name as the “Forest Town”.

For starters, it will have a 5km-long and 100m-wide Forest Corridor as part of its landscape as well as hiking trails for nature-lovers, revealed the Housing and Development Board on Thursday (Sept 8)

The corridor, to be developed in collaboration with the National Parks Board, will form part of a larger network of greenery linking the Western Catchment Area with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. More native rainforest trees will be planted alongside the existing secondary forest species to transform it into a “rich forest habitat”, allowing residents to enjoy nature up-close.

The other option for residents to chill among the greens will be at the heart of town: a 20ha Central Park roughly the size of the Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. Water bodies such as the Tengah Pond and Forest Stream will be integrated with the park.

Several housing districts within the town will have spaces set aside for community gardening and urban farming. These community farms will also have various recreational facilities such as playgrounds and lawns, doubling as localised parks for residents to mingle with family and neighbours.

A peek into Tengah, the next new HDB town the size of Bishan
Estate will be composed of five housing districts, each with its own unique identity
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 9 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — Sprawling over 700ha, the new Tengah estate — which is about the size of Bishan —will not only feature the country’s first car-free town centre, it will also allow residents to get up close with nature.

The masterplan for the newest Housing and Development Board (HDB) town was announced on Thursday (Sept 8) by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the HDB awards ceremony.

Infrastructure work is scheduled to start early next year. The first batch of HDB flats is expected to be launched from 2018. Estimated to be fully developed over two decades, the town could comprise up to 42,000 new homes, with public housing making up more than 70 per cent of the units.

Plans to redevelop Tengah — which is currently used as a military training area — were first announced during the Committee of Supply debate in April. The Tengah estate, which has been dubbed as the “Forest Town”, will be about three quarters the size of Punggol.

Tengah will be composed of five housing districts: Plantation, Park, Garden, Brickland and Forest Hill, each to be designed to correspond with a facet of the town’s identity.

For instance, the Plantation District, the first to be built, will have a community farmway running through its housing precincts. It has space dedicated for community gardening and urban farming, and activities such as sales of organic produce may also be held there.

Bound by the Kranji and Pan-Island expressways, Bukit Batok Road and Brickland Road, Tengah has been used as military training ground since villagers there were resettled in the 1980s and 1990s.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, the Ministry of Defence reiterated that it is “supportive of HDB’s development of Tengah New Town”. “Military training in the area will be adjusted accordingly in line with the HDB’s Masterplan for Tengah,” it added.

The town sits on a key eco-corridor linking the western part of Singapore to nature reserves in the Central Catchment area. HDB’s planners drew inspiration from this and set about creating a town “that would be sensitively integrated with the ecosystems surrounding it”.

HDB said it has conducted environmental, topological and hydrological surveys for the area. “Taking into consideration the surroundings, topography and water courses, the plan is to recreate a forest corridor that runs through the town in an East-West direction,” it said. “Where it makes sense to integrate with the town greenery, we could retain some existing vegetation.”

There will be a 100m-wide, 5km-long Forest Corridor that will form part of the larger network of greenery linking the Western Catchment Area and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. A continuous stretch of lush greenery will also run along the town’s periphery to complement it.

At the heart of the town will lie a new 20ha Central Park, which will include an amphitheatre. The park will be integrated with water bodies to provide a picturesque space for recreation.

Central Park will be the centrepiece of green spaces in Tengah, offering a scenic and tranquil spot for residents to relax and enjoy various recreational activities. Photo: HDB

In line with the Government’s efforts to get people to cut back on using cars, Tengah will house the first car-free HDB town centre, although this will be put into effect only when the town reaches critical mass.

Roads and vehicles will run beneath the town centre.

Tengah is set to offer more living and recreational options for those working in the 600ha Jurong Innovation District, with its first phase slated for completion around 2022. The district falls partly within the town’s boundaries.

Describing Tengah as a “big step forward” for HDB town planning, HDB Chief Executive Cheong Koon Hean said that the town would “completely transform the western region of Singapore”, complementing the development of Jurong Lake District, touted as Singapore’s second Central Business District.

An exhibition on Tengah will be held from today to Sept 25 at the Sales Display Area on the first level of the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

The public may give their feedback on the town at the exhibition, which will open daily from 9am to 8pm.

Car-free town centre among draws of Tengah ‘forest town’
ILIYAS JUANDA Today Online 9 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — Based on Tengah’s key novelty features of being a “forest town” and its projected car-free town centre, property analysts told TODAY that they expect to see a very healthy demand for homes there because of its new town-planning concepts, but the estate would hold its strongest appeal to those who already live and work in the western region.

The new Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate is part of the Government’s efforts to transform the west as a regional district, and is near developments such as the Jurong Lake District, slated to be Singapore’s second Central Business District (CBD), where the future Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail terminal will be.

The first batch of HDB flats is expected to be launched from 2018 and the town — the size of Bishan and set to be fully developed over 20 years — would have 42,000 new homes.

Propnex Realty’s chief executive Ismail Gafoor said that one group most likely to want to live there would be the newly married, the younger generation who have grown up in the area who are tech-savvy and who want to live near their parents.

ERA Realty Network’s key executive officer Eugene Lim shared similar views, saying that this group would appreciate it more than those who live farther in eastern Singapore. He added that it would be interesting to see how HDB works in smart features in its planning.

On the car-free town centre, Mr Alan Cheong, research head at Savills Singapore, said that people would be able to mingle better with “no barrier, no roads” and he wanted to see how architects would plan the layout of shops and commercial zones to enhance the experience of the town.

Prices of Tengah flats should be comparable to suburban new towns such as Punggol, the analysts said. Mr Ismail added that it was likely that Tengah flats would be “at least 20 per cent cheaper” than those in the Bidadari area, given that the latter had a more central location.

The analysts pointed out that Tengah, which lies at the borders of Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Jurong West, is still a little out-of-the-way for some, and its success in drawing buyers from non-neighbouring estates would also depend on how well the developments pan out in Jurong Innovation District and Jurong Lake District.

Ms Caroline Koh, manager (research and consultancy) at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, said that while the decentralisation of the CBD to Jurong is ongoing, it would “not be easy to convince someone living nearer downtown to move to Tengah”, especially if their workplace is in the current CBD. Mr Cheong said that relocating the workforce from the CBD would also be difficult “unless you build a new MRT line that is an express ride bypassing existing lines, from major employment nodes in the current CBD to Tengah”.

Tengah to get Singapore’s first car-free town centre
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 8 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — In tandem with Singapore’s push to become a car-lite society, the new Tengah HDB town will feature a car-free town centre, a first for the country.

The town centre, dubbed the Market Place, will have roads and vehicles running underneath it, freeing space on the ground level to make it conducive to walking, cycling and other recreational activities.

The absence of cars on the ground will also make for safe and smooth commutes to and from the town centre, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Thursday (Sept 8), as it announced its plans for the town.

Those who live or work in or visit Tengah will be able to use walking and cycling paths on both sides of roads.

To improve the walking and cycling experience, other features such as elevated and underground crossings, shaded paths and rest-stops, will also be planned as part of the park network. There will be easy access to public transport, with most bus stops located within 300m of homes.

The authorities will plan bus services to connect to key amenities within the town and between towns, to nearby MRT stops and to key destinations, including the Jurong Lake District.

Along the wider roads in Tengah will be dedicated bus lanes to enable better traffic flow.

Residential developments will also be within walking distance of an MRT station with the rollout of the upcoming Jurong Region Line, set to be completed in about a decade.

In planning the town, the HDB will provide for future transport networks, and newer forms of travel by autonomous and self-driving vehicles. New-generation neighbourhood centres will be well connected to the transport network and other communal spaces, such as hawker and community centres.

The major facilities situated at its heart — along the Central Park — will include a sports hub, an integrated community hub, and a health and medical-care facility.

With all these within easy reach, residents are not expected to have to venture beyond Tengah to meet their daily needs.

First batch of Tengah HDB flats to be launched from 2018
Channel NewsAsia 8 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: The upcoming Tengah development will feature Singapore's first car-free Housing and Development Board (HDB) town centre, and the first batch of flats will be made available from 2018.

Details of HDB's 24th town, dubbed "Forest Town" as it will be integrated with the area's greenery and biodiversity, was revealed by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the HDB Awards ceremony on Thursday (Sep 8).

Mr Wong said: "This will be the first town for smart living in Singapore ... We’ve talked about Singapore becoming a smart city, a Smart Nation ... with IT, with sensors.

The National Development Minister noted that many of the smart features have already been introduced in pilot projects across different estates. "For example, we have pilots in Yuhua, in Punggol Northshore, where we use sensors to better manage utilities, where we help households to monitor their elderly parents or relatives who are alone at home.

"So these smart technologies are already in place, but in a more ad hoc fashion and across different pilots in different areas. Having gained experience with these pilots, we are now ready to do a larger scale roll-out town-wide.

"So Tengah, as a new town, will be our first smart living town where all of these technologies can be introduced on a town-wide scale. Residents can benefit from more efficient services, smarter services and greater convenience."

Tengah will comprise five districts - Plantation, Garden, Forest Hill, Brickland and Park. The first batch of flats will be launched in Plantation, and when fully completed, the development is estimated to provide about 42,000 homes - 30,000 units of public housing and 12,000 private ones.

As for the "car-free" town centre, HDB said the roads are planned to run beneath it so that ground-level space is freed up. It will have dedicated walking and cycling paths for residents to commute. It will also be served by the Jurong Region Line, which is estimated to be completed in about 10 years, it added.

The Tengah project was previously described as a "forest town" that would be integrated with the Jurong Lake District, Mr Wong revealed in Parliament earlier in April.

One of the main features will be a 100-metre-wide and five-kilometre-long forest corridor, a collaboration with the National Parks Board. It will form part of the larger network of greenery that connects the Western Water Catchment Area and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and will have hiking trails, HDB said.

There will also be a Central Park spanning about 20 hectares, or the size of Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. The park will be complemented with ponds and canals, according to HDB.

The road networks in Tengah are also designed to meet future needs, as they could support future forms of mobility, such as autonomous or self-driving vehicles. In addition, most bus stops will be located within 300m of residents' homes, it said.

The Tengah exhibition will be held from Thursday till Sep 25 at the HDB Hub Sales Display Area. It will be opened daily, from 9am to 8pm. The public is invited to visit the exhibition and give their feedback on the development, HDB said.

- CNA/am

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