Efficient Neighbourhoods: Bedok  

Improving social inclusion and keeping a multicultural society together in Singapore has always been its priority. However, it has become tougher and more important as Singapore’s development progresses further with its success in this aspect attributing to one key factor: its neighbourhood, as mentioned by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Yong, 2015). There are many factors which contribute to the efforts Singapore has made to improve and encourage social inclusion such as policies implementation and statistics to control housing quotas. The success of Singapore’s neighbourhoods comes from the increased quality of life that the living environment provides and the emphasis placed on the everyday experiences that its residents encounter from the moment they step out of their house.

Self-containing Neighbourhoods and Towns: Bedok New Town

Figure 01: Planning Structure of Bedok New Town. Source: URA. (1994).

Self-containing, smaller scale town centres and neighbourhood centres which started emerging outside the city centre in the early 1960s aims to redistribute the congregation and resolve congestion issues at the central. Bedok New Town (Figure 01) is an example of a new town in Singapore which strives to achieve the aim of self-containment to improve the quality of life by providing daily necessities to the residents within the neighbourhood and bringing jobs closer to home such that all of these are within walking distance and at their convenience. Bedok New Town was modelled after the conceptual form of new town (Figure 02). The planning structure of the new town shows the town centre located in the central area with neighbourhoods served by neighbourhood centres surrounding the town centre (Figure 03).

Figure 02: Conceptual Form of a Neighbourhood Centre in New Towns in Singapore. Source: HDB. (1923).

A comprehensive range of facilities are planned and are carefully distributed across each town and neighbourhood with a commercial node as the central focal point to ensure a liveable, self-sufficient town with good accessibility to facilities.

Figure 03: Conceptual Form of New Towns in Singapore. Source: HDB. (1975).


Figure 04: Commercial Centre Plan in Bedok New Town. Source: URA. (1994).

Amenities and Facilities

Figure 05: Integrated Facilities and Amenities in Bedok. Source: URA. (2016).

With self-containment comes the need for amenities and facilities to be within comfortable reach of the residents within the neighbourhood. Self-containment sought to integrate housing, education, shopping and recreation into compact pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use developments (Sun, 2013). Sun (2013) has analysed the different categories of land use in Bedok. 40% of the total land is allocated for residential use with mixed housing types. Industrial land comprises of light industrial and business park for manufacturing products, which provides employment to the people. Transportation is convenient with the available MRT station and interchange located in the new town as well as two expressways crossing it. Educational (schools), sports (sports complex), community, medical and religious facilities are also provided to the residents. Recreational areas such as parks (East Coast Park), open spaces and playgrounds are present. 7% of total land is allocated for commercial purposes such as the town centre and neighbourhood centres which houses service shops (Sun, 2013). With a wide range of amenities and facilities clustered together and catered to the people, the quality of the living environment is enhanced as residents are able to access their basic necessities within walking distance from their homes.

Figure 06: Sports Hall and Bus Interchange provided at Bedok. Source: https://www.myactivesg.com/facilities/bedok-sports-hall and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedok_Bus_Interchange


Figure 07: Integrated Facilities at Bedok Town Centre. Source: E-Singapore Property. (n.d.).

Bedok now has an integrated transport hub with a shopping centre (Bedok Mall) and a condominium (Bedok Residences) integrated with a bus interchange, an integrated community and spots complex (Figure 06) at the town centre, a new hawker centre with multi-story carpark and a town plaza.

Parks and water bodies are also planned within the town so that residents can easily access them at their convenience such as East Coast Park, Bedok Reservoir Park and Bedok Town Park (Figure 08). Leisure sport areas such as heritage trails and Sungei Bedok under the Public Utilities Board’s Active Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters project are provided to help rejuvenate the place (URA, 2013).


Figure 08: Bedok Draft Master Plan. Source: URA. (2013).

Connectivity and accessibility is convenient with 3 MRT stations serving the North of Bedok along the downtown line; furthermore, the Eastern Region Line in the future will serve Bedok South. In addition to existing park connectors and cycling routes, new routes are planned to provide residents with a more comprehensive network of park connectors and more alternatives for relaxation and social interaction (URA, 2013). These well connected networks aids with travelling within Bedok and to other parts of Singapore so as to decrease travelling time and to provide convenience to current and future residents.



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  • (2016). Housing. Retrieved 7 January 2017, from https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/master-plan/View-Master-Plan/master-plan-2014/master-plan/Key-focuses/Housing/housing
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