Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared a new vision for the development of Punggol during his National Day Rally on 19 August 2007. Located in northeast Singapore, the Punggol area is bounded by Sungei Serangoon, Tampines Expressway, Sungei Punggol, Straits of Johor and the Serangoon Harbour. Dubbed “Punggol 21 Plus” (or “Punggol 21+”), the plan was a revamp of the earlier Punggol 21 blueprint that was first unveiled in 1996 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in his National Day Rally. Construction of the Punggol 21 project commenced in 1998, but was halted when housing demand dipped as a result of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Work was further hampered by a slump in the construction industry in 2003.
Unveiled as part of the Housing and Development Board’s “Remaking our Heartland” initiative, Punggol 21 Plus reinvigorated the vision of transforming Punggol into “A waterfront town of the 21st century”. Under the enhanced plan, the Serangoon and Punggol rivers would be dammed to create reservoirs, with an additional waterway cutting through the estate to connect the two rivers. The 4.2-kilometre Punggol Waterway would be the central feature of the estate, with resort-style housing, a town centre, as well as recreational amenities such as water sports, parks with jogging and cycling tracks, and eateries offering al fresco dining on its banks. The revival of development after a decade of sluggish progress was much welcomed by Punggol residents.
Construction of the Punggol Waterway began in April 2009. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee on 23 October 2011. Waterway Terraces – the first public-housing project located along the waterway – was launched in mid-2010. Designed by international architecture firm Group8asia in partnership with local firm Aedas, the project featured eco-friendly elements that set the tone for other developments in the vicinity. Since the launch of Punggol 21 Plus, the resident population of Punggol has grown in tandem with the pace of development, from 52,700 in 2007 to 83,300 as at March 2013.
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4. Leong, P. K. (2003, June 5). Punggol flats delayed. The Straits Times, p. 26; Cheam, J. (2007, August 22). Residents look forward to ‘Punggol 21-plus’. The Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
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6. Lee, L. (2007, August 20). Punggol 21 reborn – and jazzed up as well. The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. The Straits Times, 20 Aug 2007, p. 27
8. The Straits Times, 22 Aug 2007, p. 29.
9. Low, A. (2009, April 19). Punggol waterway built by teamwork. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Cai, H. X. (2011, October 24). ‘Venice of Punggol’ the pride of former backwater. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
11. Shankari, U. (2010, July 1). Biggest-ever launch of new HDB flats. The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
12. Shankari, U. (2009, November 12). Group8asia-Aedas design for Punggol homes. The Business Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Housing and Development Board. (2007). HDB annual report 2006/2007 (p. 78). Singapore: The Board. Retrieved October 2, 2014, from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10221p.nsf/attachment/ar0607/$file/HDB%20AR06_07_stats_charts.pdf; Housing and Development Board. (2013). HDB annual report 2012/2013 (p. 7). Singapore: The Board. Retrieved October 2, 2014, from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www10.hdb.gov.sg/eBook/AR2013/keystatistics.html
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.