Singapore

A playground for the people, by the people

After much planning over a year and a half, Singapore's first community-built playground took shape in Sembawang Close, with its tree house and kelong-like features conceptualised, designed and built by residents living in the Canberra housing estate.

Yesterday, they put the finishing touches to the 185 sq m playground - about the size of two four-room flats. They named the facility Adventure Playground@Canberra.

Soon, residents in other parts of Singapore will also get to have a hand in redesigning existing playgrounds in their housing estates.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, opening the playground yesterday, announced the expansion of the Housing Board's Build-A-Playground initiative.

Five existing playgrounds will be rejuvenated.

They are Tembusu Park in Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands Admiral Garden, Seashell Park in Pasir Ris and parks in Toa Payoh Lorongs 1 and 8.

Mr Wong said the initiative allows residents to decide what would be best for their community and children.

"The one thing we have learnt is that the most important aspect of a playground is not just the design but the process - how residents come together to design it and take ownership of it. When you take ownership of something, you take pride in it," he said.

The playground in Sembawang Close, near Block 334, involved about 1,800 people through design workshops, roadshows and surveys.

It pays tribute to Sembawang's past, when the area was dotted with fishing villages and kelongs, by featuring climbing structures and hammocks that resemble fishing nets and brown poles that look like a kelong on wooden stilts.

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