Paya Lebar



The Paya Lebar estate is located in the eastern region of Singapore. Known as Paya Lebar District in the 1820s to 1830s, its name originated from the Malay words paya and lebar, which mean “swamp” and “wide” respectively.1 The area is bounded by Tampines Expressway to the north, Tampines Avenue 10 to the east, former Tampines Dumping Ground and Defu Industrial Estate to the west and Kaki Bukit Industrial Estate to the south.2

History
An old survey map dating from around 1830 to 1890 shows a road leading to Payah Liebar (Paya Lebar) Road.3 There were rural settlements and agricultural areas in Paya Lebar in the early days. In 1865, part of the area was purchased by Richard Owen Norris, who then lived there with his family. In 1915, the admiralty wireless station was situated in this district.4

In 1955, Singapore’s first international airport opened at Paya Lebar, which became the area’s major landmark. At the time, there were also housing estates, schools and factories in the area.5 With the opening of Changi International Airport, Paya Lebar Airport ceased its civil aviation operations in 1981 and was converted into a military airbase for the Republic of Singapore Airforce that same year.6

To the east of the Paya Lebar Airport, at what is now Tampines Avenue 10, were many sand quarries. Toward the late 1980s, the industry began to decline and the last quarry, located near the southern end of Paya Lebar Airport, cease operations in 1991.7

Description
There are four sub-zones in Paya Lebar covering a total area of approximately 1,170 ha.8 Paya Lebar Street was officially named in 1958, and Paya Lebar Way in 1972.9

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) 1996 Development Guide Plan, land surrounding the Paya Lebar airbase was slated for conversion into industrial estates, with Tampines Avenue 10 identified as the site for a large wafer fabrication park to be developed by Jurong Town Corporation.10

Under the 2008 URA Masterplan, Paya Lebar – along with Geylang – was earmarked to be developed into a commercial hub. Paya Lebar Central, near the Paya Lebar Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) interchange station (Circle and East-West lines), was envisioned to be a commercial centre with a mix of office, retail and hotel developments.11

The Lifelong Learning Institute, located near Paya Lebar Square Mall and Paya Lebar MRT station, was officially opened in 2014. Paya Lebar Quarter, a mixed-use development by developer Lendlease and also located near Paya Lebar MRT station, is slated for completion in 2018.12



Author
Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 290. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
2. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 4. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
3. Survey Department, Singapore. (c. 1830–1890). Site at Sirangoon (Serangoon) Road and Payah Liebar (Paya Lebar) Road [Map accession no. SP000201]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
4. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 290. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
5. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 290. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
6. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Goodbye Paya Lebar, here we come Changi. (1981, July 1). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Roots. Former quarries of Tampines. Retrieved 2018, March 13 from Roots website: https://roots.sg/Content/Places/landmarks/tampines-heritage-trail-green-spaces-trail/Former%20Quarries%20of%20Tampines; National Heritage Board. (2017, August). Discover our shared heritage: Tampines heritage trail. Singapore: National Heritage Board, pp. 35–37. Retrieved from Roots website.
8. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Paya Lebar planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: The Authority, p. 4, 6. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Paya Lebar will be industrial hub. (1996, March 14). The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 290. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
10. Paya Lebar will be industrial hub. (1996, March 14). The Straits Times, p. 40; Tan, C. (1996, October 25). JTC to spend $2.2b on industrial development plan. The Straits Times, p. 72. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Lim, C. (2011, September 3). Major facelift for Paya Lebar. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Seow, J. (2014, April 16). Learning institute to operate fully by this year. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lendlease Corporation. Paya Lebar Quarter. Retrieved 2018, March 13, from Lendlease website: https://www.lendlease.com/sg/projects/paya-lebar-quarter/?id=215e6ca0-23d7-4310-89eb-12eb927617b



The information in this article is valid as at 2018 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.

 

Subject
Street names--Singapore
Suburbs--Singapore
Urbanization--Singapore
Streets and Places
Law and government>>National development>>Urban development
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings