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The neighbourhood that we decided to assess was Toa Payoh. It’s a mature neighbourhood with people of all ages, from the very young to old. The neighbourhood is pretty quiet, with no major shopping malls. It’s rich with history which will be elaborated on later in the report.
The cleanliness of the place is good although with several exceptions. Firstly, along the pavements we did see cigratte buts and trash thrown on the floor. Moreover, the water in the Toa Payoh park was murky and at some parts stagnant which shows that the maintenance there is low. It seems that some of the water fountains that were in the water to prevent the water from becoming stagnant were not working. Lastly, there was leaves that were shed from the trees everywhere and in abundance. Even though this is a natural process i still think an effort should be made to clean them up, or at least be swept to the side. Aside from all the litter and dirt the pavements were mostly litter free and the walkways had been mostly clear from leaves. The place was overall not bad with few areas which need improvement and hence we gave it a +2.
Next, the maintenance of the place was also quite good. Most of the buildings had a nice coat of pain that had not worn out and the buildings were not dirty. The pavements were well maintained and it was all smooth and there were no holes in the ground. The playground and fitness stations were also well maintained and all the stations were working and not faulty. However, there were some parts of the place that was not kept as well. The tower in central park was dirty and and had black splotches all over it. We also noticed that the toilet was under renovation, hence unavailable. However, there were some temporary toilets, there was a strong pungent stench wafting from the bathroom, and there was nowhere to wash one’s hands. However, we did appreciate the effort being made to renovate the toilet, and are looking forward to seeing how the new renovated toilet will look. Overall it was still good so we gave it a +2.
Next, there were many amenities available for people of all age group all around Toa Payoh. The place had things like the fitness station and and a park with open space for the elderly/young adults to do their morning exercises, there were also benches along the way such that if on needed to take a rest there was one.The fitness station was for those over the age of thirteen, while the playground was for those under thirteen. This is very elderly friendly as they are the ones who get fatigue easily but still visit the park. Then there were playgrounds there to keep the young children entertained while their parents/grandparents exercise. The playgrounds had slides and swings, these some seats on the swings were specialised for younger children who need a “harness seat”. This is extremely family friendly and the sight of greenery all around is also pleasant to the eye. This creates a sense of belonging as they cater to the needs of different age groups, making them feel included.
Next, a sense of place was created through iconic landmarks such as one of the last dragon playgrounds left standing in Toa Payoh. The dragon playgrounds were designed by Mr Khor Ean Ghee, who was previously a designer at HDB. The dragon playground is a distinctive feature that sets Toa Payoh apart from all the other neighbourhoods in Singapore. This unique icon is recognisable from all around Singapore as merely the sight of the dragon’s playground brings back memories for many people. This makes Toa Payoh a unique city and one that people are not likely to miss. Also a sense of place was created through the MRT. Toa Payoh has one of the oldest Mass-Rapid-Transport (MRT) Stations in Singapore. Toa Payoh MRT. Toa Payoh MRT has distinctive yellow coloured panels from floor-to-ceiling throughout the entire MRT station. Back then, the colour-coding of MRT stations was so that those who were illiterate would be able to find their way. Toa Payoh MRT was officially opened on the 7th of November 1987.
Toa Payoh is an aging neighbourhood with many elderly residents residing there. This means that there needs to be special requirements to meet their need. Firstly, some of them are wheelchair bound. Hence we have seen many slopes being built to help them out. Following that, i see many care centres around the neighbourhood where the elderly can go to enjoy the amenities and entertainment there. These Senior Activity Centres promote a sense of inclusivity and allow the senior citizens to interact with others. We see that Singapore has been able to cater to this mature neighbourhood and has lived up to our expectations. The neighbourhood is inclusive and accepting, and we’re hoping that Singapore will maintain the standards.
Using the bipolar survey as a collection method was unique as it allowed us to score the neighbourhood objectively. However, it is not completely immune to bias, as it’s a neighbourhood, people’s sense of belonging to the neighbourhood will sway the mark. It’s extremely easy to collate results, simply by adding or subtracting the marks. Moreover, if there are too many neutral characteristics, it may be extremely difficult to determine a final score. These surveys rely heavily on the assessor’s judgements and opinions in scoring an environment.
We believe that other ways to foster and increase the sense of belonging to the neighbourhood would be through reducing marginalisation and embracing people of different cultures. This could be through art motifs that promote the unity of different races and religions, having age inclusive facilities throughout the neighbourhood, or by hosting neighbourhood events. Such as festivals during holidays from different religions.
Toa Payoh is a place where many can live in as around the entire neighbourhood, there are many facilities available at a stone’s throws away from one’s home and the place has been well-maintained such that they are relatively clean and functionable. On top of that, there is a HDB hub nearby, allowing citizens to easily access the HDB headquarters easily and conveniently. The government tries their best to reach out to the elderly and help them get out of their homes and socialise with others. Toa Payoh has many features that give it and the people living in it a strong sense of place and belonging.
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