‘Garden city’ Jurong a Heritage Town contender - Experts

‘Garden city’ Jurong a Heritage Town contender - Experts
Jurong Bird Park

SINGAPORE - Jurong could be a strong contender for the second edition of the Heritage Town award to be given out by the National Heritage Board next year.

Heritage experts such as architectural historian Lai Chee Kien, say the estate - broadly inspired by the late British urban planner Ebenezer Howard's garden city concept - is a microcosm of Singapore's industrial and green development over the decades.

This concept calls for self-contained communities, including residences, industries and agriculture, surrounded by "greenbelts".

"Singapore's own interpretation of the concept, which incorporated green and leisure spaces within industrial towns, has helped soften the estate's industrial nature. This concept from the 1950s to 1960s later contributed to the development of Singapore as a garden city," said Dr Lai.

The award, held for two years, was won by Joo Chiat in 2011.

Aside from strong contenders like Queenstown and Tiong Bahru, naval architect and heritage buff Jerome Lim, 48, reckons Sembawang, Toa Payoh Central and Radin Mas have what it takes.

Sembawang, for instance, used to be home to a naval base, which was built by the British government during the 1920s and 30s. Toa Payoh - the Housing Board's second satellite town after Queenstown - has religious sites such as the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery and Seu Teck Sean Tong, said Mr Lim, who has documented Singapore's historically and culturally rich estates in his blog.

The second edition of the award will involve a three-month-long search for a town that best embodies Singapore's heritage and culture. More than 100 towns here are eligible.

Submissions can come from the community and interest groups, but they have to be processed by the candidate-towns' Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs) - grassroots organisations under the People's Association which work with grassroots advisers of a constituency.

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