📷: A current bird’s eye view of Queenstown estate. [HDB]
When public spaces are designed with care, people develop strong connections to the area. The space then gets transformed into a place: more than just a physical location, it becomes a site where memories and meaning are built into it over time.
One example of such a place is Queenstown, developed by the HDB’s predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in the 1950s. Queenstown was built to be more than just blocks of flats. Singapore’s first satellite town was an experimental effort in creating a “self-contained” district away from the city centre, with its own council, schools, clinics, and markets within walking distance from home.
Queenstown had many firsts: Singapore’s first public housing skyscraper, first HDB blocks, first point blocks, first branch library, first polyclinic, first neighbourhood sports complex, first neighbourhood shopping centre, and first flatted factory. It became a place where people congregated: at shops, schools, markets, cinemas and places of worship. The successful Queenstown experiment led to the development of the next satellite town, Toa Payoh, which was lauded by foreign dignitaries visiting Singapore in the 1970s as a successful approach to public housing and urban redevelopment. Decades on, multiple satellite towns, and soon, multiple hubs such as Punggol Digital District and a CBD at Jurong came up.
In 2021, HDB revealed that Queenstown will be the first estate to undergo a pilot rejuvenation programme, Re-making our Heartland (ROH), in collaboration with National University Health Services (NUHS) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Queenstown will soon be our country’s first health district with infrastructure for residents to lead physically and mentally healthy lifestyles, for example, on wellness trails and easily accessible jogging loops. At Queenstown, there will be improved access to preventive health services, with on-site health screenings and vaccinations easily available to residents, and places where health talks can be conducted within the community to foster healthy ageing.
Queenstown is where the urban design pioneered liveable neighbourhoods for the rest of the nation. Its transformation into our first health district will ensure it remains a place of historic reference, for years to come.
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