Clementi New Town

by Chew, Valerie

Situated in the southwestern part of mainland Singapore, Clementi New Town takes its name from Clementi Road, which also marks the town’s eastern boundary.1 The town’s landmarks include the five-storey Clementi Mall which was officially opened in May 2011,2 the 12-hectare Clementi Woods Park and the Clementi Stadium.3

Until the late 1940s, Clementi Road was known as Reformatory Road for the boys’ home situated along it.4 It has been suggested that Clementi Road was named after Cecil Clementi, governor of the Straits Settlements from 1929 to 1934. However, the road is generally believed to be named after his uncle, Cecil Clementi Smith, governor of the Straits Settlements from 1887 to 1893.5

Clementi New Town is the eighth new town developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The development took place primarily between 1975 and 1979. While private residential estates such as the Clementi Housing Estate were retained, the HDB resettled more than 800 villagers to make way for the new town. In addition, swamps where the town now borders West Coast Park were reclaimed using earth taken from the town’s northern hills.6

Like HDB’s other new town projects, Clementi New Town was designed to be self-sufficient. Spaces were planned for a town centre, neighbourhood centres, transport nodes, schools and recreational facilities to serve the residents’ diverse needs.7

The 408-hectare Clementi New Town has both private and public housing. As at 2010, public housing in the new town totalled 23,871 units and housed 74,500 Singapore citizens and permanent residents.8 Besides Clementi Road, two other arterial roads serve the town. They are the Ayer Rajah Expressway, which runs through the heart of Clementi, and the West Coast Highway, which marks the town’s southwestern boundary.9

Major public amenities in Clementi include Clementi Stadium, Clementi Swimming Complex, Clementi Community Club and Clementi Woods Park. There are also several schools in the area, such as the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science (affiliated to the National University of Singapore, or NUS),10 Nan Hua High School, Clementi Primary School and the Japanese Supplementary School. Although the NUS, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic are often associated with Clementi, these institutions lie just outside of the town’s boundary.11

The town centre, bounded by Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Avenue 3, occupies a central location in Clementi. Serving the entire town population, the town centre offers a wide range of amenities including a polyclinic, library, market-cum-food centre, eating places, retail shops and cinemas.12 From the town centre, residents are connected to the rest of Singapore via the bus interchange and the Clementi Mass Rapid Transit Station.13


Valerie Chew

1. OneMap. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, April 11 from OneMap website:
2. Ng, H. (2011, May 22). Clementi’s first full-fledged mall officially opens. The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. National Parks Board. (2016, June 28). Clementi Woods Park. Retrieved 2017, April 11 from National Parks website:
4. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 309. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Cracker shops to be licensed. (1947, August 22). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., pp. 55–56. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Colony’s new governor. (1929, November 21). The Straits Times, p. 11; Sir Cecil Clementi resigns the governorship. (1934, June 15). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Housing and Development Board. (1976). Annual report 74/75. Singapore: Author, pp. 56–58, 141. (Call no.: RCLOS 711.4095957 SIN-[AR])
7. Housing and Development Board. (1976). Annual report 74/75. Singapore: Author, pp. 56–58. (Call no.: RCLOS 711.4095957 SIN-[AR])
8. Housing and Development Board. (2010). HDB annual report 2009/2010: Key statistics, pp. 7–8. Retrieved 2017, April 11 from Housing & Development Board website:
9. OneMap. (2017). OneMap. Retrieved 2017, April 11 from OneMap website:
10. NUS High School of Mathematics and Science. (n.d.). [Homepage]. Retrieved 2017, April 18 from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science website:
11. OneMap. (2017). OneMap. Retrieved 2017, April 11 from OneMap website:
12. Clementi town centre. (1978, October). Our Home, 4–5. (Call no.: RSING 050 OH)
13. OneMap. (2017). OneMap. Retrieved 2017, April 11 from OneMap website:

The information in this article is valid as at 2011 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.

Law and government>>National development>>Urban development
Cities and towns--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Streets and Places