MND Link menu
Mar/Apr 2018 Issue
Share: facebook twitter email  PDF version RSS Feed

Playgrounds have always been an iconic feature of our heartlands. Just think of the famous Toa Payoh dragon playground, and the Tampines Watermelon playground. But for residents of Canberra estate, a brand new “kelong-themed” playground holds even more special meaning. It is a playground which they conceptualised, designed, and built together as a community.

1,800 residents participated in this collaborative project, which took about two years to complete. They actively contributed to design workshops and roadshows organised by HDB to dream up their ideal playground.

Residents adding finishing touches to their “Adventure Playground”

On 7 January, they gathered to put the finishing touches to their “Adventure Playground” and completed Singapore’s first community-built playground. The focus of the project was not just to build another playground, but to develop residents’ sense of community ownership and strengthen the bonds that they share with one another.

Canberra residents enjoying their new playground, which they worked on for two years
Canberra residents enjoying their new playground, which they worked on for two years.

The playground’s kelong (fishing jetties) theme was born out of residents’ desire to honour Sembawang’s history. The hammocks, which look like fishing nets, are reminiscent of a time when Sembawang was dotted with fishing villages.


The enthusiastic response from residents during this pilot run of HDB’s “Build-A-Playground” initiative has fuelled the expansion of the programme to four other towns: Toa Payoh, Pasir Ris, Woodlands, and Choa Chu Kang. Five existing playgrounds in these towns will be rejuvenated, and residents will get a chance to be involved.