📷 1: Changi Village, c.1945. David Turner Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore [NAS] 📷 2: Current view of Changi Beach Park, with Changi Village in the background. [NParks]
A space becomes a place when we can recognise its distinct identity: to Singaporeans, Changi is more than just the easternmost side of our island, it is a place of history and heritage, cherished for the many landmarks that link us to our past and our future.
In the late 1920s, the British built their military base within the Changi Village area at Changi Point, the focal point of military, administrative and recreational activities. During World War II, Changi was where the infamous Changi Beach massacre took place and one of the sites where prisoners-of-war (POW) were interned at. After WWII, Changi Village continued to serve the troops stationed there until the British withdrew from Singapore by 1972. With careful conservation, Changi’s colonial heritage still stands today, including the former barrack buildings along Hendon Road and the old Changi Hospital.
Between the 1950s and 1970s, the beaches and holiday bungalows at Changi were popular weekend retreats. During the 1970s and 1980s, a housing estate was built at Changi Village and its hawker centre became famous for its Nasi Lemak (a Malay fragrant rice dish). Today, the Changi Point area continues to draw Singaporeans to its idyllic charm, with holiday bungalows, sports clubs and great food. Nature lovers can enjoy the coastal boardwalk, or take a 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal to nearby Pulau Ubin, or cycle down the 3.6km long scenic Changi Bay Park Connector that connects Changi Beach Park to the East Coastal Park Connector Network.
Changi is also where we land when we come from flights abroad. When Singapore Changi Airport became operational on 1 July 1981, the Control Tower became our icon to the world. To date, Changi Airport has been recognised with 656 international awards. It has four terminals and a shopping mall called Jewel Changi Airport, that houses another national icon — the world’s largest indoor waterfall, the 40-metre-high Rain Vortex.
Going forward, the broader Changi region is anticipated to become Singapore’s Eastern Gateway where a live-work-play-learn ecosystem around the airport, comprising the Singapore University of Technology & Design, Changi Business Park and the future Changi East Urban District, will be developed to further elevate Singapore’s status as an aviation hub.
With its unique charm and heritage, Changi will continue to have a special place in our hearts.
#OurNeighbourhood #Placemaking #SGPlacemaking