URA portal on heritage buildings proves a hit

URA portal on heritage buildings proves a hit
The Cundhi Gong Temple at 13 Keong Saik Road is just one of about 7,100 heritage buildings in Singapore, and is featured on the URA's newly launched My Conservation Portal.

SINGAPORE - The first public database detailing the history, architecture and stories behind more than 7,100 of Singapore's heritage buildings is proving a hit with users.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) launched the portal on its website last week.

Properties such as conserved shophouses, structures and national monuments are tagged on an interactive map according to, for example, location and historical district.

A pop-out menu allows users to pull up exterior and interior shots, conservation guidelines and procedures as well as past and present publications and photos of the properties. Never-before-seen URA archive photos from the 1960s also feature, including one of 13 Keong Saik Road in Chinatown where a 1928 Nanyang-style temple stands.

The My Conservation Portal is part of the authority's effort to help the public, building professionals and property owners gain access to the wealth of information it possesses.

It also caters to the growing community interest in heritage, said Ms Yeo Su Fen, 34, a senior architect from the URA's conservation department and the project's team leader. "Apart from conserving buildings, the portal also helps to educate the public on what already has been conserved," she said.

In a speech at the URA Architectural Heritage Awards last Thursday, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin also encouraged Singaporeans to "appreciate what we already have" in a rapidly developing country.

Not many, he said, are aware of the significance of buildings we walk or drive past every day.

Most of the 7,100 properties have been gazetted since 1989.

Heritage buff Yeo Hock Yew, 65, said he envisions himself spending a lot of time using the portal and mapping out his own heritage trail from there.

"The visualisation will appeal to the growing number of heritage enthusiasts," he said. "It will help to raise awareness about our built heritage and support research work on the subject."

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