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Toa Payoh Residences: Encouraging Physical Activity and Community Sports with Basketball Courts and Youth Programmes

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In an effort to promote an active lifestyle among the community residents of Toa Payoh Residences, the local government has proposed to build basketball courts and other sports initiatives. These initiatives aim to encourage youths to partake in more sporting activities. They will also be providing youth sport programmes for the residents, such as badminton, tennis, and even football. This will help to foster a stronger sense of unity among the community residents and inspire them to stay physically active.

To bolster the arts and culture in Toa Payoh Residences, a heritage corner will be established in the town centre featuring much-beloved architectural gems such as the renowned Dragon Playground and Y-shaped Block 53. Town planners are aiming to create a brighter and more unified future for its residents, and to facilitate this, they are planning to install more sheltered walkways and bicycle paths in the town as well as increase the number of dual-tier bicycle racks to 1,200. To further promote physical wellbeing, they have proposed various community-centred sport initiatives, such as basketball courts and youth sports programmes.

Toa Payoh Residences is a mature town, with a large proportion of residents aged 60 and above constituting a third of its population. To make the area more accessible for the elderly, the town is taking measures to install additional ramps and handrails and level pavements, thus improving the mobility of elderly Toa Payoh Residences residents.
Through this programme, HDB will be working to upgrade and transform the estates to enhance the living experience of residents.

In the next ten years, Singaporeans in nine heartland estates, including the prime district at Toa Payoh Residences, can look forward to a transformation of their neighbourhood through HDB’s Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. This programme is intended to upgrade these estates and improve the living environment of their residents.

Toa Payoh Residences is structured around a neighbourhood concept in which the estate is organised into multiple districts. This was done to provide shopping and recreation opportunities for the residents. Several distinct projects were attempted as part of the concept, including the introduction of Singapore’s first Residents’ Association, first cooperative supermarket (NTUC Welcome which later became NTUC FairPrice), and the first Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station.

Situated in the center of District 12, Toa Payoh Residences is steeped in history. Developed during the 1960s, the satellite town was designed to accommodate a total of 35,000 residential units to accommodate up to 250,000 people. Of the Toa Payoh Residences units, 40% were allocated to one-room rental flats, while the remaining would be two to three-room apartments.

The residents of Toa Payoh enjoyed an array of community amenities when the development was completed back in the 1970s. A total of 480 shops, more than 20 schools, markets, clinics, cinemas, community centres, hawker centres and places of worship were constructed with a budget of $230 million. These facilities provided ample opportunities for the community to come together and enrich their lives.

The invigorating and far-sighted renewal of Toa Payoh Residences is timely given that it is situated in a central node of the city. This renovation is in line with the aspirations of policy-makers and local administrators alike, acting as a means of further strengthening and structuring the heart of Singapore’s heartlands.

Integrated community hubs will be established in Toa Payoh Residences to connect its residents with necessary town services, aiding residents with a range of needs. This could include providing employment support, and setting up places for locals to socialise and spend quality time together.

Indeed, from its humble beginnings as a “big swamp” (as its name in Malay implies), Toa Payoh Residences is now home to roughly 120,480 people (as of the 2018 population census) and is a bustling and vibrant heartland hub. This estate serves as a public housing provider for the first generation of Singapore citizens and is now considered a highly connected and lively part of Singapore’s landscape.

Markings to remind pedestrians to check the roads before crossing will be designated in Silver Zones at Toa Payoh Residences such as Lorong 5 and Lorong 8/8A, aiming to improve road safety for all. In addition to this, there will be new nursing homes as well as an expansion of the wing for Mount Alvernia Hospital in order to support the eldercare and healthcare needs of the community.

In tandem with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Draft Master Plan 2019 for the Bishan-Toa Payoh area, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be implementing the Rights of Occupancy Housing (ROH) Programme at Toa Payoh Residences. Through this comprehensive blueprint, the draft master plan seeks to create a vibrant and future-ready central region town hub. Residents will be able to look forward to improved connectivity, such as new MRT stations, as well as a broad range of additional amenities, including expanded healthcare services and integrated community hubs.

Two land sites at Toa Payoh Residences, totalling 14ha, will undergo redevelopment in the coming years. The first, located next to Caldecott MRT Station on the Circle Line, and the second in Toa Payoh East, near Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, are expected to yield around 5,000 residential units in the next decade. As part of these plans, a 4km nature-themed ring road linking Toa Payoh Town Park, the swimming pool, and Braddell and Toa Payoh MRT stations will also be refurbished.

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