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
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).
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.
Amenities and Facilities
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.
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).
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.
- Chua, Z. H. (2014). “A Study of the Relationship Between Commercial Spaces (Hawker Centres and Wet Markets) and Quality of Living in Punggol New Town”. Unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Department of Real Estate, School of Design & Environment. National University of Singapore.
- E-Singapore Property. (n.d.). New Bedok Town Centre Condo for Sale. Retrieved 7 January 2017, from http://www.e-singaporeproperty.com/bedok-town-centre-condo.html
- Ministry of Communications and Information. (1989).Speech by Mr S Dhanabalan, Minister for National Development, at the 1989 New Year Gathering for community leaders at the People’s Association Auditorium on Friday, 6 January 1989 at 7.30 pm [Press release]. Retrieved 7 January 2017, from National Archives of Singapore website: http://archivesonline.nas.sg/; Wee, A. (1989, January 7). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
- Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1989). Better racial mix in HDB housing estates, Vol. 52, cols. 650–668.
- Sun, H. (2013). “Social Effects of The Provision and Distribution of Service Shops in HDB New Town in Singapore – Using Case Studies of Bedok, Jurong East, Bishan, Sengkang and Punggol New Towns”. Unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Department of Architecture, School of Design & Environment. National University of Singapore.
- (1994). Bedok Planning Area: Planning Report 1994. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority.
- (2013). Bedok Draft Master Plan 2013. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority.
- (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
- Yong, J. A. (2015). Singapore’s neighbourhoods key to social inclusion, says DPM Tharma.. Singapore: Straits Times. Retrieved 6 January 2017, from http://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/singapores-neighbourhoods-key-to-social-inclusion-says-dpm-tharman