Thursday, July 8, 2010

Upgrading, the way residents like it

Tampines flat dwellers' ideas are included in first HDB design contest

A MAJOR spruce-up is on the cards for the 25-year-old Tampines Neighbourhood 9 (N9), with residents' ideas being part of the estate's final design.

The government-funded, $10 million project represents the first time that the Housing Board has called for entries from 30 architectural firms and implemented the winning design based on residents' feedback and votes.

The project, which starts in the second quarter of next year, is also one of the largest public consultation exercises carried out for an HDB precinct.

The winning design for the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), which was announced last Thursday, needed at least 75 per cent of residents' votes in order to go ahead.

When voting closed on Tuesday, 90.1 per cent had given their consent.

It will be carried out concurrently with the Lift Upgrading Programme and the Home Improvement Programme in the neighbourhood.

Key features of the winning design, which was done by Team Design Architects, include a green belt where residents can grow their own crops, new playground equipment with cross-trainers and stationary bikes, and a graffiti walk where aspiring artists can use chalk to express themselves.

A portion of Tampines Street 91 will also be converted into a weekend flea market at certain times.

Said Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Home Affairs and a Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC: 'In the past, many people complained that they could choose only 'yes' or 'no'.

'But now the winning design is one which had the most votes. So this is not what I think residents like, but what they want.'

Mr Masagos added that since the budget for the NRP is allocated based on the number of households, Tampines N9 - which spans 38 blocks and has 3,352 dwellings - has a chance to be made impactful to its residents and become a model for other neighbourhoods to follow.

One resident who is excited about the proposed changes is Ms Julie Gan, who attended the initial selection process and voted for the winning design.

'It's a good move because this place is a bit run-down already. Soon our place will be beautified and the value of my home will also go up,' said the 49-year-old clerk.

Another resident, housewife Ho Foong Kuan, 41, is also keen on the changes. She said: 'The new upgrades mean more facilities for my family to use during outings. It's impressive to have them in the neighbourhood.'

As of last month, 31 NRP projects have been announced, of which 13 have already polled residents for their favourite design.

The remaining 18 projects are either in the early design stage or in the first round of public consultation.

Source: Straits Times, 8 Jul 2010

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