Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park



Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is one of the largest parks in Singapore. Built in 1988,1 the park was revamped between 2009 and 2011 under the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme launched by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency.2 Subsequently, the park was reopened in 2012.3 Spanning 62 ha, it stretches along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 from Upper Thomson Road to Bishan Road.

Description
An iconic feature of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is the naturalised river meandering through it. The three-kilometre waterway was converted from a concrete canal that channelled the Kallang River at the edge of the park.When the water level in the river is low, visitors can walk down the gentle river banks to get closer to the water; but during heavy rain, the parkland next to the river doubles up as a conveyance channel and carries excess water downstream.5

Concrete slabs from the original canal have been stacked up to create a mound called Recycle Hill. An award-winning sculpture by Kelvin Lim Fun Kit titled An Enclosure for a Swing can be found at the top of the hill, where visitors can enjoy a good view of the entire park.6

There are three playgrounds within Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park: the Water Playground; the Adventure Playground; and the Inclusive Playground. The Inclusive Playground was designed in consultation with therapists and children with special needs, and includes wheelchair- accessible equipment for children such as a swing and merry-go-round.7 It was modified from an existing playground and launched in 2015 as Singapore’s second inclusive playground.8

Another inclusive feature is the Therapeutic Garden. Launched in 2017, the garden is designed with a sensory environment and elderly-friendly facilities to promote the mental well-being of its visitors, including those with dementia.9 There are plenty of open spaces for outdoor activities elsewhere in the park, as well as dedicated spaces for gatherings and community events, picturesque ponds and a dog run.10

Biodiversity
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, with 66 species of wildflowers, 59 species of birds and 22 species of dragonflies identified as of 2016.11 The Purple heron, Collared kingfisher, White-breasted waterhen and Scaly-breasted munia are some of the bird species commonly seen at the park.12 A community-initiated butterfly habitat has also drawn more than 20 species of butterflies since it was initiated in 2012.13 The most well-known animals at the park, however, are a family of otters. The family of five, dubbed the “Bishan 5”, were first spotted at the park in 2014, and grew to 16 members by 2017, before the father’s death in 2018.14

History
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was originally called Bishan Park when it was completed in 1988.15 The 42-hectare park cost the Housing and Development Board (HDB) over S$8 million to develop and was built to serve as a green buffer between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan new towns. Designed by HDB’s landscape architects, Bishan Park incorporated the existing natural forest and also featured a frangipani garden, a palm court lined with palm trees and a lake with a floating amphitheatre. There were also jogging and cycling tracks, a fitness corner, a football field, a multi-purpose court and a children’s playground, among other features.16

In 1992, Bishan Park became the first park in Singapore to be made accessible via the park connector network. The five-kilometre stretch linked Bishan Park to Braddell Road, and was part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s vision to build an island-wide network of corridors along drainage canals that would allow users to jog or cycle from one park to another seamlessly.17

Rejuvenation under the ABC Waters Programme
As part of PUB’s ABC Waters Programme, the canal running through Bishan Park was identified for major upgrading in the 2000s. The project was then expanded to include the rejuvenation of Bishan Park, and became a collaborative effort by PUB and National Parks Board (formerly the Parks and Recreation Department). In redesigning the waterway and park, landscape architects from Atelier Dreiseitl Asia (now Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl) were engaged to work with engineers from CH2M Hill.18

The park was officially reopened as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in March 2012 following the S$76-million revamp.19 Some existing features were enhanced, while new ones such as restaurants and three new playgrounds were added to create a more vibrant recreation destination.20

A major component of the project was the transformation of the utilitarian canal into a beautiful, natural-looking river meandering through the park. This marked the first time that a concrete canal in Singapore was naturalised and integrated with a park, allowing visitors to get close to the water and improving connectivity within the park. The project also saw soil bioengineering techniques being used for the first time in Singapore to convert a canal into a river.21 These techniques involve the combination of natural materials, such as plants and rocks, with traditional engineering to stabilise the river banks and reduce soil erosion. Some 10 techniques were tested out at a test bed constructed in Bishan Park before seven were eventually selected and applied along the main river.22

In addition, a cleansing biotope was created to provide a water cleansing system for the river and ponds at the park without the use of chemicals. The cleansing biotope consists of carefully selected plants that help to treat the water naturally by filtering out pollutants and, at the same time, beautify the park. Some of the treated water is channelled to the Water Playground for shallow water play. A network of bioswales, or vegetated open channels, was also introduced to slow down water conveyance and facilitate the removal of coarse pollutants.23

Awards
2012: WAF (World Architecture Festival) Landscape of the Year Award; Singapore Design Award, Adventure Playground; Waterfront Center Honor Award, Excellence on the Waterfront Award;24 President’s Design Award25
2013: LIAS (Landscape Industry Association of Singapore) Award of Excellence, Silver Award26
2016: ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Honor Award, General Design;27 BCA (Building and Construction Authority) Universal Design Mark Award28



Author
Centre for Liveable Cities



References
1. Keep an April date with Bishan Park. (1988, March 27). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. (2009, October 2). Bringing Kallang River into Bishan Park [Press release]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Bishan Park reborn; there’s a different kind of buzz in one of S’pore’s biggest and most popular parks, following a S$76m makeover. (2012, March 11). TODAY. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
3. Prime Minister’s Office. (2012, March 17). Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of Bishan Park – ABC Waters, 17 Mar 2012. Retrieved 2018, August 27 from Prime Minister’s Office website: https://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/speech-prime-minister-lee-hsien-loong-opening-bishan-park-abc-waters-17-mar-2012
4. National Parks Board. (n.d.). Your guide to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, p. 1. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/bishan-amk-park.pdf
5. Tan, N. S. (2012). Revitalising Singapore’s urban waterscapes: Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme. Urban Solutions, p. 15. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from Centre for Liveable Cities website: https://www.clc.gov.sg/research-publications/publications/urban-solutions/view/issue-1
6. Lim, C. (2012). A river runs through it. My Green Space, 2(13). Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/mygreenspace/issue-13-vol-2-2012/main-feature/a-river-runs-through-it; Public Art Trust. (n.d.). An enclosure for a swing. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from Public Art Trust website: https://www.publicarttrust.sg/Public-Art/An-Enclosure-for-a-Swing
7. PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. (n.d.). Kallang River @ Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Retrieved 2019, August 15 from PUB website: https://www.pub.gov.sg/abcwaters/Documents/BishanPark.pdf; Ng, H. (2015, August 22). Kids in wheelchairs now can swing with the rest with opening of inclusive playground. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/kids-in-wheelchairs-now-can-swing-with-the-rest-with-opening-of-inclusive-playground; Wheelchair-accessible playground comes to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio. (2015, August 22). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
8. Ang, B. (2015, April 12). Playground in Sembawang caters to children with special needs. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/playground-in-sembawang-caters-to-children-with-special-needs
9. National Parks Board. (2017, September 19). NParks opens two new therapeutic gardens in parks [Press release]. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2017/9/nparks-opens-two-new-therapeutic-gardens-in-parks
10. Lim, C. (2012). A river runs through it. My Green Space, 2(13). Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/mygreenspace/issue-13-vol-2-2012/main-feature/a-river-runs-through-it; National Parks Board. (n.d.). Your guide to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, p. 3. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/bishan-amk-park.pdf
11. American Society of Landscape Architects. (n.d.). 2016 ASLA professional awards: Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from American Society of Landscape Architects website: https://www.asla.org/2016awards/169669.html
12. National Parks Board. (n.d.). Your guide to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, pp. 35. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/bishan-amk-park.pdf
13. National Parks Board. (2018). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, p. 7. Retrieved 2019, August 26 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/a_nparks_bishanamkparkbrochure_r18_fa_p(lowres).pdf?la=en&hash=34B57F49520349C57056C2380435F02683DF78D7; Yeo, M. (2015, July 24). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to blossom into habitat for more butterflies. TODAY. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from TODAY website: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/bishan-ang-mo-kio-park-blossom-habitat-more-butterflies
14. Nurulnadiah Md Noh. (2016, February 12). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park otter family grows with birth of 5 new pups. The Straits Times; Father in famous Bishan otter family dies. (2018, May 5). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
15. Keep an April date with Bishan Park. (1988, March 27). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Parks Board. Natural river through Bishan Park. (2012, February 15). Retrieved 2019, August 26 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2012/2/natural-river-through-bishan-park; National Parks Board. (2018). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, p. 7. Retrieved 2019, August 26 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/a_nparks_bishanamkparkbrochure_r18_fa_p(lowres).pdf?la=en&hash=34B57F49520349C57056C2380435F02683DF78D7
16. Tan, J. (1986, June 14). $8.5 m park for Ang Mo Kio and Bishan. The Straits Times, p. 9;.HDB building $8.5 million Bishan Park. (1986, June 14). Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Ministry of Information and the Arts. (1992, August 14). Speech by S Dhanabalan, Minister for National Development at the Opening of the Park Network System, Kallang River Phase I on Friday 14 Aug 92 at 5.00 pm at Kallang River Park Connector (Bishan Road). Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Yaw, Y. C. (1989, April 2). Vision of a park city. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. (2009, October 2). Bringing Kallang River into Bishan Park [Press release]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl. (n.d.). Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (former Atelier Dreiseitl) joins the Ramboll Group. Retrieved 2019, August 15 from Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl website: http://www.dreiseitl.com/en/studio/ramboll
19. Prime Minister’s Office. (2012, March 17). Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of Bishan Park - ABC Waters, 17 Mar 2012. Retrieved 2018, August 27 from Prime Minister’s Office website: https://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/speech-prime-minister-lee-hsien-loong-opening-bishan-park-abc-waters-17-mar-2012; Bishan Park reborn; there’s a different kind of buzz in one of S’pore’s biggest and most popular parks, following a S$76m makeover. (2012, March 11). TODAY. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
20. National Parks Board. Natural river through Bishan Park. (2012, February 15). Retrieved 2019, August 26 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2012/2/natural-river-through-bishan-park
21. PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. (2009, October 2). Bringing Kallang River into Bishan Park [Press release]. Retrieved 2019, August 27 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; National Parks Board. (2012, February 15). Natural river through Bishan Park [Press release]. Retrieved 2019, August 27 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2012/2/natural-river-through-bishan-park
22. Building and Construction Authority. (n.d.). Annex A: Creating a natural river using soil bioengineering. Retrieved 2018, August 28 from Building and Construction Authority website: https://www.bca.gov.sg/data/ImgCont/BuildingAuditChecklist/Bishan-AngMoKio.pdf
23. National Parks Board. (n.d.). Your guide to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, p. 4. Retrieved 2018, August 21 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/bishan-amk-park.pdf; PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. (2009, October 2). Bringing Kallang River into Bishan Park [Press release]. Retrieved 2018, August 27 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
24. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl. (n.d.). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl website: http://www.dreiseitl.com/en/portfolio#bishan-ang-mo-kio-park
25. Ministry of Communications and Information. (2012, December 4). 13 outstanding designers and designs honoured with Singapore's top design accolade The President's Design Award 2012 [Press release]. Retrieved 2019, August 27 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
26. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl. (n.d.). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl website: http://www.dreiseitl.com/en/portfolio#bishan-ang-mo-kio-park
27.
American Society of Landscape Architects. (n.d.). Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Retrieved 2019, August 21 from American Society of Landscape Architects website: https://www.asla.org/2016awards/169669.html
28. Building and Construction Authority. (2016, May 12). BCA Universal Design Mark Award 2016 – Early engagement key to Inclusive design in buildings [Press release], p. 18. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/


Further resources
Centre for Liveable Cities. (2017). The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme: Water as an environmental asset. Singapore: Author. Retrieved 2019, August 27 from Centre for Liveable Cities website: https://www.clc.gov.sg/research-publications/publications/urban-systems-studies/view/the-active-beautiful-clean-waters-programme-water-as-an-environmental-asset

Centre for Liveable Cities, & Public Utilities Board. (c2012). Water: From scarce resource to national asset. Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia.
(Call no.: RSING 333.91095957 WAT)

Ng, J. H. (2016, November 18). How we may tame storm water. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/



The information in this article is valid as at August 2019 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
Parks--Singapore--Ang Mo Kio
Parks--Singapore--Bishan
Parks and gardens
Recreation>>Places of Interest
Nature and Environment