Queenstown in Singapore

Thursday, 15 December 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Ghim Moh, a district of Queenstown © Chen Siyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ghim Moh, a district of Queenstown © Chen Siyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Queenstown is a planning area and satellite residential town situated on the south-westernmost fringe of the Central Region of Singapore. It borders Bukit Timah to the north, Tanglin to the northeast, Bukit Merah to the east and southeast, as well as Clementi to the northwest and west. Its southern and southwesternmost limits are bounded by the Pandan Strait. Developed by the Singapore Improvement Trust in the 1950s and subsequently by the Housing and Development Board in the 1960s, Queenstown was the first satellite town to be built in the country. Most apartments within the township consists of simple one, two, or three-room flats, typically in low-rise, walk-up blocks. Major development work was carried out during the first Five-Year Building Programme between 1960 and 1965. A total of 19,372 dwelling units were constructed between 1952 and 1968. The headquarters of Grab, Razer and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are located in Queenstown.

Queenstown was named after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation in 1953. The area was previously known by the Mandarin Chinese name Wu-wei-gang (Wade Giles: Wu-wei-kang), or in Hokkien as Boh Beh Kang. The arterial road Queensway was officially named in 1954.

Previously, the area which Queenstown currently occupies was a large swampy valley with a channel running through in a southeastern direction. On either side of this agricultural area were hills – feng xing and feng ling. The former was a rubber plantation and the latter, a cemetery also known as boh beh kang. The village in the area, with mainly Hokkien and Teochew-speaking dwellers was also the area was inhabited by hundreds of people in attap-roofed huts, cultivating vegetables, growing fruits and rearing pigs and chickens. Buller Camp, a British military camp, was also set up there until 1953 when it was cleared for the new housing estate.

In 1947, the Housing Committee of Singapore highlighted the problem of inadequate housing in Singapore. The report proposed the decentralisation of the population away from the city with the building of self-contained residential areas in the suburbs. This proposal was believed to be an influence of the New town movements in post-war Britain.

The area was subsequently chosen by Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) as a site for housing development due to its proximity to the successful first public housing scheme in Tiong Bahru. Plans for the development of the area were first announced to the general public on 27 September 1953, with construction of Queenstown’s first estate, Princess Margaret Estate (named after HM Elizabeth II’s younger sister) having already begun last in July last year. By late 1953, a preliminary batch of 3-room flats was ready for occupation. By 1956, work on the Princess Margaret Estate (later shortened to Princess Estate) had more than 1,000 flats comprising one, two and three-room units and 68 terrace houses. A ceremony was held in October that year for Forfar House, a 14-storey block which was a prominent landmark in those days as it was the tallest HDB flat at that point of time.

© unsplash.com - chuttersnap Ghim Moh, a district of Queenstown © Chen Siyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0 Housing and Development Board flats along Queensway © flickr.com - Kok Leng Yeo/cc-by-2.0 Sandcrawler CX2-1 © flickr.com - Aedas/cc-by-sa-2.0 SkyOasis at Dawson public housing project © Wzhkevin/cc-by-sa-4.0 The Star Vista © Whywhy99/cc-by-sa-4.0 University Cultural Centre of the National University of Singapore © Sengkang
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Housing and Development Board flats along Queensway © flickr.com - Kok Leng Yeo/cc-by-2.0
The area continued to develop as a self-contained community. Some of the facilities and amenities developed included the Town Centre and the Swimming and Sports Complex. The former was fully completed in 1969 with three cinemas and a variety of outlets including an emporium, a fresh food market, a maternity and child health centre, a bowling alley and a nightclub cum restaurant. The swimming complex was completed in August 1970.

In the 1970s, the success of the new town led to the development of Buona Vista and Holland Village, using the older neighbourhoods of Queenstown as a model. However, by the 1980s, the area had become a mature estate with a higher proportion of senior citizens residing in the area than elsewhere, and a gradual migration of the younger generation into other HDB new towns.

Queenstown is bounded by the Ulu Pandan Canal, Ghim Moh Housing Estate and the former Tanglin Camp area to the north, Alexandra Road to the east, Clementi Road to the west and the sea to the south. It covers an area of approximately 2,188 ha. The total population (1990 census) is 126,071 with 31,131 housing units. It consists of 16 subzones, namely Ghim Moh, Holland Drive, Commonwealth, Tanglin Halt, Margaret Drive, Mei Chin, Queensway, Portsdown, Buona Vista, Singapore Polytechnic, Dover, National University, Kent Ridge, Pasir Panjang, Pasir Panjang II, and the Port.

Pasir Panjang lies to the south of Queenstown (Pasir Panjang in Malay means “long sandy beach”). The coastline was dotted with Malay villages, the main economic activities being fishing and small-scale agriculture. Only after the war, did the development of the area begin, with bungalows along the coastline being built in the 1950s. Today, Pasir Panjang is a popular recreational area for sea sports and attractions such as the Haw Par Villa.

Read more on Wikivoyage Singapore and Wikipedia Queenstown (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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