With more emphasis on elevated green spaces for the future by HDB (Straits Times, 27 June 2013), HDB had focused on developing its roof top gardens in newer estates and projects to achieve this vision. That being said, HDB had also spent efforts during the mid 2000s to improve and upgrade existing estates to introduce roof garden spaces into these older estates. One such example is Bedok Reservoir Gardens (Fig. 1).

 

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Figure 1: Bedok Reservoir Gardens

 

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Bedok Reservoir Gardens is a 35 year old precinct, which is situated near bedok reservoir. It underwent the upgrading project in 2005 and the precinct now enjoys vibrant community spaces at the roof garden at the MSCP @ Blk 714A (HDB, 2010).

One unique feature of this estate which highlights its vibrancy lies in its landscaped lift lobby at every block, with plants managed by the community themselves (Figure 2). This little gesture shows a much well knit and strong community within the precinct.

 

 

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Figure 2: Lift Lobby decorated by plants by residents & commmunity (Left).
Vibrant Community Garden with No Fences (Right)

 

These lift lobbies are then linked to the MSCP roof deck, through a well lighted bridge (Figure 3a), which is different from the dark bridges observed in Punggol West (Figure 3b).

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Figure 3a: Well Lighted Sky Bridges in Bedok Reservoir Garden leading to Roof Garden Deck.

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Figure 3b: Dark Bridges connecting to Roof Garden in Punggol West

 

The roof garden above the car park is an extension of  the void deck space which is almost at the same level to the void deck of the adjacent block. This also allows easy access from the other communal areas like the community garden nearby (Figure 4).  With such a seamless connection, this greatly encouraged residents to use the space for recreational purposes as well as social gatherings.

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Figure 4:
Diagramatic Section showing the seamless connection of roof garden deck with nearby communal areas & void decks

 

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Figure 5: Seats on the roof garden

As per many other elevated green space, the roof garden here are also well equipped with seats and greenery as seen in Figure 5. But one special thing that makes this roof garden space special is that it is connected to a gym (Figure 6) and toilet (Figure 7) on the top floor.

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Figure 6: Stairs leading to the gym from the elevated green space (Left) & The Gym at the Roof Top of MSCP (Right)

 

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Figure 7: The toilet facility just located beside the gym on the roof of the MSCP at Blk 714A.

 

However, one downside of this roof is that it is not completely vehicular free, thus walking on the roof towards the gym area as observed in Figure 8, can be quite dangerous especiailly for elderly and young children. However, despite such flaws, the space remain to be a vibrant space with many teenagers chit chatting, as well as neighbours talking to one another.

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Figure 8: The non walking friendly rooftop hosting the Gym.

Perhaps one main reason for the more successful use of this elevated green space could be the result of a much more close knitted community, as well as its functions. Speaking with various residents, some have reflected that they are attracted to use this space due to the gym, and made new friends there. Some also mentioned that they used the space as an extension from the nearby community garden.

In this particular case study, it is interesting to note that despite near distance to nearby parks, the elevated green space is still much visited due to the gym as well as the gardening spaces provided. Moreover, a close knitted community in the precinct as well as the seamless design of this particular elevated green space, also contributed to its success as a communal space.

This precinct is indeed magical, and once again highlighted the point that elevated green space would only be successful when designed with thought, context, and careful considerations. In this case, this unique design had indeed brought about a better example of a successful elevated green space, capable in bringing about a vibrant community.

 

 

References:

  • Straits Times (2013), “Taking HDB Walkways to the next level” written by Charissa Yong on 27 June 2013, accessed 7 July 2013
  • Housing Development Board (HDB) (2010), “Sustainable Neighbourhood HDB Developments”
  • All Graphics and Photographs are credited to the Author.