SINGAPORE — For the first time in more than four decades, new public housing will be built at Pearl’s Hill near Chinatown, with 6,000 housing units to be built over the next 10 years, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) revealed on Friday (Nov 3).
Calling it “hillside living in the city”, the new homes will comprise a mix of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats, rental flats, as well as private homes such as condominiums and serviced apartments to cater to diverse needs and lifestyle preferences, URA said in a press release.
Plans are also underway to build housing units at Bukit Timah Turf City, Mount Pleasant and the site of a former golf course in Keppel Club.
The plans for housing development in these locations in central Singapore were unveiled by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, at the My City, My Home exhibition held at the URA Centre.
The plans were developed in response to feedback from Singaporeans during URA’s Long-Term Plan Review.
Mr Lee said: “We also need to ensure that Singaporeans from different walks of life have the opportunity to live in these central locations. We want to have a good social mix that reflects our diverse society.”
He also said that going by discussions during URA’s Long-Term Plan Review and the Forward Singapore exercise, Singaporeans increasingly aspire to live closer to their workplaces in the city and be nearer to amenities such as transport nodes.
Singaporeans have also expressed a desire to see more greenery and heritage protected throughout Singapore.
In meeting these “diverse aspirations” with the limited land available, Mr Lee said that a “very careful approach” is necessary when making choices for Singapore’s land use in order to meet various needs, including housing.
One strategy that URA will be adopting when developing new residential neighbourhoods is to ensure that each neighbourhood will have a unique identity, capitalising on the nature and heritage there, Mr Lee added.
The authority is also seeking public feedback for these plans, which will be exhibited at URA Centre until Feb 2 next year.
As one of the two remaining hills in the city, URA said that Pearl’s Hill will undergo development as an inclusive and community-centric neighbourhood.
Future residents can look forward to a variety of amenities within a proposed mixed-use development to be integrated with Outram Park MRT Station and around the neighbourhood to meet their daily needs, the statement said.
Given Pearl’s Hill’s convenient location near the Central Business District, Chinatown Historic District and Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, as well as access to four MRT lines, the area has been gazetted as a car-lite district.
There will be a network of street-level and elevated connections for residents of Pearl’s Hill to promote “a delightful pedestrian and cycling experience”.
These connections will also have convenient access to Pearl’s Hill City Park, key transport and amenity nodes, as well as a seamless walking experience towards surrounding urban precincts such as Robertson Quay and Fort Canning Park.
Additionally, the National Parks Board will be enhancing Pearl’s Hill City Park with new park facilities and “contemplative landscapes” that support the physical and mental well-being of park users.
Given its rich history and as part of the Police Heritage Trail, the former police barracks in Pearl’s Hill could be adapted to offer a mix a lifestyle offerings, URA said.
The area’s open spaces could serve as a new community node along Eu Tong Sen Street, it added.
BUKIT TIMAH TURF CITY
For the housing developments in Bukit Timah Turf City, these would “take into consideration the heritage and greenery on site”, URA said.
To preserve the rich history of the area, Mr Lee said that significant heritage elements will be “sensitively integrated with future developments”, while some heritage buildings will be adapted for new uses.
URA is studying the possibility of providing a diverse range of housing options, including both private and public housing, as well as complementary amenities to cater to a wide variety of needs.
Selected clusters of former racecourse buildings and structures are intended to be retained and repurposed to create a unique sense of place and identity.
In particular, the character of the future neighbourhood will be anchored on the area’s rich heritage as a former racecourse as well as retaining areas with ecological value and creating a network of green landscapes for ecological connectivity, URA said.
Residents will also benefit from convenient commuting with access to both the existing Sixth Avenue MRT Station along the Downtown Line and the upcoming Cross Island Line’s Turf City MRT Station, which is expected to be ready by 2032.
OTHER UPCOMING ESTATES IN CENTRAL SINGAPORE
The Marina South will comprise a mix of residential, retail, office and hotel developments, and to kickstart its development, two sale sites at Marina Gardens Lane and Marina Gardens Crescent have been launched and could potentially inject more than 1,500 new private homes, URA said.
Marina South is envisioned as a sustainable and car-lite waterfront precinct with pedestrian-friendly streets, a comprehensive cycling network and an underground pedestrian network connecting Gardens by the Bay and Marina South MRT Station.
As for the golf course at Keppel, the 48-hectare site will have about 9,000 new homes, including about 6,000 public housing units.
Its features will include nearby access to around 10ha of green recreational spaces and several nature areas, such as the Labrador Nature Reserve, Southern Ridges and the upcoming Berlayer Creek Nature Park.
The exhibition showcased conceptual plans for the Mount Pleasant area as well. That will be a new 33ha public housing estate to be developed over the next 10 years and provide about 5,000 new homes. The first BTO project is expected to be launched in 2025.