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Mar/Apr 2019 Issue
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Creating Unique HDB Towns

Every HDB town has its own distinct identity. This is not a coincidence, because HDB has consciously designed each town according to a theme that best reflects its own unique context and history.

However, as towns undergo enhancement, development, and rejuvenation by different government agencies over time, it becomes necessary to align all the agencies’ efforts to preserve the various towns’ identities and ensure coherent design.

HDB is in the process of creating Town Design Guides in response to this challenge. Each guide outlines the history, planning vision, and design intent of each town at three different scales: town, neighbourhood, and precinct. By translating architectural intents into clear principles, agencies like Town Councils and their design consultants will be better equipped to enhance HDB towns in ways that build on the towns’ own unique identities.

Town Design Guide
The Town Design Guide outlines the history, planning vision, and design considerations of each town at three different scales.

Woodlands, one of the towns identified for renewal under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme, is the first town to receive its own Town Design Guide. The name “Woodlands” was coined based on the many keranji trees that dotted the coastline in the area during the 1880s. The guide thus naturally adopted a “wooded” theme to commemorate Woodlands’ history.

The “wooded” theme permeates all levels of planning and design for the town, from broad connectivity plans to precinct facilities and street furniture. For example, at the town level, a 1.9km-long community link called WoodsVista Gallery will be built amidst lush greenery, so residents can walk leisurely from Woodlands MRT station to Woodlands Waterfront while enjoying nature around them.

The 5 areas within Woodlands, and their corresponding sub-themes
The 5 areas within Woodlands, and their corresponding sub-themes.

Sub-themes have also been developed for the five areas within Woodlands. These sub-themes are urban, nature, community, wellness, and discovery. The Town Design Guide provides recommendations for the design of facades and roofscapes in line with each of these sub-themes. For instance, Woodlands Central, which was assigned the “urban” theme, could employ a colour palette comprising light greys and browns as well as varied and dynamic roofscapes.

Town Design Guides for all HDB towns will progressively be published over the next five years. Through these design guides, HDB hopes to strengthen the identity of each town, thus deepening residents’ sense of belonging to their homes.