I sent to Straits Times Forum Page my comments about Tengah New Townone week ago. they did not publish it so i have no choice but to post it on FB and invite concerned Singaporeans to help prevent this destruction of the only large forest land on the west of Singapore from being built upon. Calling it a forest town is a bluff.


By Tay Kheng Soon, 27/10/16

I attended a private discussion triggered by the Tengah project organised by pioneer architect Tan Cheng Siong and attended by a number of senior architects, former planners and a few younger building professionals on 27th Oct. 2016.
Tengah is called a Forest Town, a bold attempt to urbanise a forest, taking Singapore’s City in a Garden concept to a new level. The key feature of the design is a linear forest park that threads through the town. The following are my own views in 3 phases:

1. Firstly housing is a socio-political thing. How does Tengah fit in? Here there are two key issues. One is the protection of asset value of existing flats owned by the old and second is affordability for younger voters. It would seem that Tengah addresses only the young. For the old, protection of their asset value is their greatest concern. Tengah is therefore not for them. More foreigners can boost asset value. Thus 6.9 or even 10 million, notwithstanding congestion. Grants help young buyers while protecting existing asset value of the old. Reverse mortgage and other financial schemes in addition are necessary. The problematic is if Tengah is only for the young, will it upset desirable family spatial relations?

2. Master Plan implications: In principle, building on brown sites is preferable to building on green sites. My YouTube video ”Singapore version 2.0” shows that land vacated by the port’s move to Tuas, can accommodate 1 million people stretching from Pandan Reservoir on the west to Marina East. Together with the availability of Paya Lebar Airport there should be no need to build on any precious forest land. Building on MRT sites plus infills within existing developments can add more floor space. Synergy with Cleantech Park does not need a whole new town next to it.

3. Tengah design shows no really new design thinking: The design is still not thought of as an intelligent living organism. When dwellings are clustered around an extensive nervous system like that of the human body is intelligence generated as people go about the routines of everyday life, going to school, to eat, to market, to shop, to civic events etc., new ideas, new people and new experiences free up learning naturally. Thus, like Acupuncture Meridians the Chi of the community releases collective intelligence and creativity for Singapore to prosper and be truly exceptional.

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