Potong Pasir: The idyllic town imbued with community spirit

/ EdgeProp Singapore
August 2, 2019 8:00 AM SGT
The HDB flats in Potong Pasir are known for their iconic sloping roofs (Credit: Albert Chua/ EdgeProp Singapore)
Originally a major sand quarry in the early to mid-1900s before becoming an agricultural area and eventually today’s HDB estate, Potong Pasir literally means “cut sand” in Malay. When one visits the housing estate now, it is hard to imagine the Potong Pasir of old. Comprising low-lying plains and ponds linked to the Kallang River – one of Singapore’s main drainage channels – Potong Pasir suffered regular floods in the past. It was a major issue which plagued residents, notably during the notorious floods of 1969 and 1978, when the town was submerged in up to 30cm of water and only the zinc and attap roofs were visible.
Today, the farms, kampong huts and massives floods have become a distant memory of the past. The last five decades saw massive changes in the area, from the building of a bridge across the ponds, to the introduction of a village community centre, and the installation of piped water and electricity. The public housing estate started to take shape in the 1980s. Construction commenced in 1982, and in 1984, the first high-rise HDB flats were completed. These flats with their sloping roofs have since become a prominent icon of Potong Pasir.
Along the Kallang River in the estate, a 400m stretch between Potong Pasir Avenue 1 and Saint Andrew’s Junior School has been transformed into a recreational space under the Public Utilities Board’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters programme. The $7 million project was completed after 18 months and opened officially on July 12, 2015.
The Kallang River runs through Saint Andrew’s Village, with the Junior College (pictured) linked to the Junior School and Secondary School via a bridge (Credit: Albert Chua/ EdgeProp Singapore)
The revamped area now includes an open plaza with two shelters, boasting a holding capacity of about 750 people; four lookout decks; and three rain gardens with plants that collect and treat the rainwater before discharging it into the river. The open area has become an outdoor classroom,...