Punggol, is a planning area situated in the North-East Region of Singapore. It is a young town which rapidly growing with a population of around 180,000. Which 50,000 of whom reside around the project’s neighborhood. With various developments coming up, such as condominiums, shopping malls, transport hub, sport facilities and Creative Cluster & learning corridor. Punggol Green has been designed to connect & stitch up all of these developments together, providing a space for circulation that connects back to the town’s cycling and walking network while also serving as a social spine and quality space that responds to community needs.
Prior the transformation, this 1.2-hectare plot of land was a 500m long empty unutilised space located underneath the viaduct connecting Punggol Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station and Sam Kee Light Rapid Transit (LRT) station which only a few people would hurry through. After conducting site studies, it became apparent that this unutilised space has a great potential to benefit the community, nearby residents, and the environment. Through strong support and close collaborations with stakeholders, six government agencies and the local community, the design team was able to navigate many constraints and requirements imposed by various authorities within a narrow and long site; the careful integration of existing Public Utilities Board (PUB) reserve’s drainage infrastructure and Land Transport Authority (LTA) Rail structure whilst conceiving this unique recreational space that responds to the needs of the community.
The project team recognised the importance of community and public engagement in the development of Punggol Green. Through numerous rounds of engagement, actively sought inputs from residents on what residents wanted to see in their neighbourhood. This included discussions on desired facilities, color schemes that best represented Punggol, and even sketching sessions to gather resident inputs. Such engagement was critical in enabling the project team to understand the community’s requirements, as well as fostering a sense of ownership over the project among residents.
As a result of this engagement, Punggol Green has transformed from an underutilised infrastructure remnant space into a vibrant community oasis. It is designed to serve as outdoor living rooms, offering a range of amenities such as multi-play areas, a multi-sport court, exercise corners, and a reading corner where visitors can work while enjoying the garden’s ambience, a social table where visitors can bring food and enjoy a meal in the garden setting. These features make Punggol Green a much-needed space for the community to come together and enjoy nature.
The design team faced several challenges during the transformation of the Punggol Green. Firstly, the site was located beneath a viaduct with service lines running below, including a drainage system. To minimise the impact on existing structures, the design team thoughtfully integrated the design planning by maintaining the existing drain and using the slab structure with openable service panels to give the maintenance access to the drain below.
Secondly, the site had changing levels from 0.5-1.0 meters within the site and to the adjacent developments, which posed accessibility challenges. To ensure universal access throughout the site, a series of gentle ramps are provided. The design team also proposed using a soft approach to stabilise the soil by adding dense vegetation on existing slopes, which helped filter runoff water before entering the drainage system.
Thirdly, safety setbacks of 1.5 meters from the column and 3 meters from the top of the rail track limits the installation of sport facilities. However, design team has creatively responded to the high demand for such facilities by conducting a ball projectile simulation study and installing an L-shaped protection fence around the multi-sport court.
Lastly, low light conditions underneath the viaducts posed a challenge for planting. The design team responded to this micro-climate condition by selecting plant species that are suitable for the tropical forest understorey.
Despite these site constraints, the design team has showcased its creativity and commitment to delivering a space that benefits the community while still prioritising environmental sustainability. Punggol Green is now a beautiful and functional community space that reflects the needs and desires of the community, and serves as a model for how underutilized spaces can be transformed into vibrant community assets.
Active aging and playful learning are two essential components of designing community spaces that promote healthy living among residents. The goal is to encourage individuals to stay active and engaged in physical activities, which can contribute to a better quality of life and overall wellbeing.
To achieve this, the design team has incorporated a variety of fitness challenges for intermediate and expert level participants, as well as fitness-friendly areas that are inclusive for everyone. The park offers a range of activities that cater to different levels of fitness and interests, ensuring that everyone can find an activity that they enjoy.
Moreover, in addition to providing fitness opportunities for adults, the park also includes a playscape that supports the evolving nature of play in children. The design team took into account the developmental stages of children and created a space that allows for play that is not only fun but also promotes the development of social and motor skills.
For children aged 2-6 years, the play complexity is kept low, and adult supervision is necessary. The design team intentionally placed the fitness-friendly areas next to the children’s play area, creating a community node where young children and adults can engage in activities together in the same area.
For children aged 7-12 years, the playscape features complex structures like climbing nets and games that require balance and coordination. This encourages children to play in groups or teams, promoting interpersonal relationships and sociability.
The Punggol Green project is a great example of how such spaces can be created, especially in a in high-density areas with limited access to outdoor spaces, by providing opportunities for people to stay active, socialise, and have fun. These spaces not only contribute to better individual health and wellbeing but also strengthen the sense of community, creating a better quality of life for all.
The key design for popular public space is being interchangeable and flexible. The snake ladder design is well-used by different groups of interest to share the same space but operate at different times of the day. For example, early in the morning, a group of people may come to do yoga, while later in the day, children will take over the space.
The plant selection is designed around existing habitat with ecological connectivity echoing the coastal habitat, not only to implement more greenery but are fauna-attracting. Native vegetation and exotic species are well mixed together to ensure ecological and aesthetic value of the project, while maintainability is ensured through selection of low maintenance plants that suit the micro climate condition under the viaduct.
Punggol Green has been designed with a holistic approach, providing a space that caters to the physical, social, and ecological needs of the community, prioritising active aging and playful learning, the park has become a go-to destination for residents of all ages. The park’s inclusive and accessible design creates a sense of belonging and encourages social interaction, contributing to a vibrant and welcoming community to come together and enjoy the great outdoors.
In conclusion, the Punggol Green exemplifies the importance of thoughtful and sustainable design in creating a space that benefits the community. The park serves as a model for how the unutilised spaces can be designed creatively to cater to diverse community needs while also promoting ecological connectivity and sustainability.
Location: Punggol Drive
Design year: 2015
Year Completed: 2022