The HDB Complexes of Sio Poh

Housing in the central area, including both tua poh and sio poh, had always been a problem in post-war Singapore. The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) attempted to tackle the problem by building a handful of new housing estates, such as Outram Hill, Winstedt Court and Stamford Estate (mentioned below). In 1960, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) was established in 1960, taking over the role of tackling housing shortage problems from the SIT. With the establishment of the Urban Renwal Unit in 1964 (renamed URD – Urban Renewal Department in 1966) and the kickstart of the urban renewal program, a number of complexes were constructed to house the people and their businesses. These complexes usually include a large number of housing blocks “weaved” together by a commercial network on the lower floors (examples include Outram Park and Beach Road Garden). With the departure of URD in 1974 (to form a separate entity, URA), the subsequent housing complexes became more inward looking. The commercial podium becomes more substantial in scale, while shrinking in footprint, creating a commercial “hub” that serves the residential towers that sit over it. This is the predominant design model adopted by HDB in sio poh.

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Beauty World

With the opening of the Downtown Line Stage 2, the name “Beauty World” is once again brought into the limelight. Located at the spot where Bukit Timah Road continues into Upper Bukit Timah Road, it seems to have halted at its own crossroads of development. After years of changes, from an amusement park to a market, and finally to a cluster of shopping malls, time seems to have stood still since the 1980s, while the rest of Singapore have since moved on.

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Beauty World, just before the completion of the MRT station

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Taman Jurong

Located to the west of Jurong Lake, Taman Jurong is part of the larger Jurong West housing estate. It was developed in 1964 to house the workers and the families of the nearby industrial areas. Taman means “garden” in Malay, suggesting that Taman Jurong was meant to be a housing estate in a garden, as a contrast to the adjacent heavy industries.

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Civic District

Singapore’s first permanent heritage trail is located at the Civic District. The Civic District Trail, launched in 1999, consists of two separate routes. Trail One covers the areas around the Padang, Esplanade Park and Empress Place, while Trail Two covers Fort Canning Hill, Dhoby Ghaut and the Museum district. The Civic District is also covered in the Jubilee Walk, a commemorative trail to be launched at the end of the year in lieu of SG50.

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Sentosa and Our Lost Memories

With the construction of the Resorts World Sentosa, many attractions familiar to visitors of the 1980s and 1990s have since been demolished (such as the Ferry Terminal and the Musical Fountain), and the rest slipped into obscurity (such as Fort Siloso and the Underwater World). We’ll take a trip down memory lane as we revisit some of these places.

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