Toa Payoh: Shaping the ‘Heart’ in Heartlands

By EdgeProp Singapore
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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Over the next decade, HDB's Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme will result in significant change in nine estates, including Toa Payoh, a prime district located in the central region of the city.

Background of Toa Payoh

Located in the heart of District 12, Toa Payoh is a precinct rich in history. Developed in the 1960s, the satellite town was originally designed for 35,000 residential units to provide shelter for 250,000 people. Of the units, 40% were slated to be one-room rental flats, while the rest were two to three-room apartments.
Community amenities included 480 shops, over 20 schools, markets, clinics, cinemas, community centres, hawker centres and places of worship based on a $230 million construction budget back then. This preliminary “neighbourhood concept” organised the estate’s several neighbourhoods around a town centre to meet the entertainment and shopping needs of residents. Several local initiatives were piloted: the area saw Singapore’s first Residents’ Association (the Residents’ Committees of today); first cooperative supermarket in Singapore, NTUC Welcome (the predecessor of today’s NTUC FairPrice) and the first MRT station.
Indeed, Toa Payoh has come far from being a “big swamp”, the meaning of its name in Malay, to providing public housing for the first generation of Singapore citizens. Today, the estate is home to roughly 120,480 residents (based on the 2018 population census) and is known as a connected, bustling and vibrant heartland hub.

What Lies Ahead

HDB's ROH programme will be implemented in tandem with the URA Draft Master Plan 2019: Bishan-Toa Payoh. The draft master plan outlines a comprehensive blueprint envisioning a more connected and future-ready central region town hub. Residents will benefit from myriad enhancements, from new MRT stations and expanded healthcare services to integrated community hubs.
Two land sites totalling 14ha will be redeveloped: one next to Caldecott MRT Station on the Circle Line, and the other in Toa Payoh East, next to Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery. In the next decade, an estimated 5,000 residential units will be completed, along with major refurbishments, such as the 4km nature-themed ring road linking Toa Payoh Town Park and the swimming pool to the Braddell and Toa Payoh MRT stations.
Brick-red paths in Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Brick-red paths and old-school vibes in Toa Payoh HDB Hub. Photo Credits: Flickr
To enhance the arts and cultural scene, a heritage corner will be set up in the town centre, highlighting beloved architectural favourites such as the iconic Dragon Playground and Block 53 (a Y-shaped block). Envisioning a healthier, more inclusive future for residents, town planners will increase the number of sheltered walkways and cycling paths, and add 1,200 dual-tier bicycle racks to the current apartment blocks.
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Serene Garden in Toa Payoh Town Park
Toa Payoh Town Park: a sprawling with serene and tranquil garden. Photo Credits: Flickr
Toa Payoh is a mature town, with three in ten residents aged 60 and above. As such, more ramps and handrails will be installed and pavements levelled to improve the mobility of elderly residents. Designated Silver Zones such as Lorong 5 and Lorong 8/8A will have markings to remind pedestrians to check the roads before crossing, improving road safety for all. New nursing homes and an expanded wing for Mount Alvernia Hospital will also the ease eldercare and healthcare needs of the community.
There will be integrated community hubs to connect residents with town services and fulfil individual needs, be it providing support to those looking for employment or venues for residents to bond over gatherings.
Skyline of Toa Payoh
Skyline of Toa Payoh. Photo Credits: Flickr
As Toa Payoh is a central node in the city, its invigorating and far-sighted renewal is timely and aligns residents with the aims of policymakers and town planners alike: to strengthen and shape the heart of the heartlands.
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