100 estates vie to be the next Heritage Town

SINGAPORE - QUEENSTOWN, Tiong Bahru and Geylang Serai are among more than 100 towns here hoping to take home the 2014 Heritage Town Award.

Launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) in 2010, the award involves a three-month- long search for a town that best embodies Singapore's heritage and culture.

The board said it is an initiative to "encourage ground-up community outreach and heritage projects".

Submissions can be from the community and interest groups but need to come through the town's citizens consultative committee (CCC). Such committees are grassroots organisations under the People's Association which work with the grassroots advisers of constituencies.

The winning town's CCC will also receive $100,000 in funding for heritage-related activities. The title is for two years.

A panel of seven judges will assess submissions on their vision for the town, track record of heritage activities, proposed heritage activities for the coming year and their level of innovation.

"We are happy to announce the nomination call for Singapore's second Heritage Town and hope that through this, our diverse communities can proactively and collectively take ownership of the invaluable cultural heritage of their local spaces and places," said Mr Tan Boon Hui, group director of programmes at NHB.

A front runner like Queenstown would have chalked up a series of heritage activities over the past two years.

For instance, the My Queenstown two-week-long 60th-anniversary celebrations in September drew more than 22,000 residents to 37 performances and exhibitions.

Festival organiser and My Community civic group founder Kwek Li Yong, 24, said winning the title can help revitalise an estate. "Funds will also allow us to support the infrastructure and the various heritage activities that are coming up in the next year."

The inaugural award in 2011 was given to Joo Chiat.

Applicants can submit their entries at their estate's CCC from now till March 1. The winner will be announced in mid-2014.