The National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) unveiled plans to enhance our green spaces in the city. As part of ongoing plans to enhance Orchard Road as a lifestyle destination and to ‘Bring Back the Orchard’, Singapore’s signature street is envisioned to be transformed into a lush green corridor by introducing new green spaces and lush planting. It will form part of a 6km-long green connection linking key historic green and blue spaces in our city centre – Singapore Botanic Gardens, Istana, Fort Canning Park and Singapore River.
These proposed plans follow the public exhibition and consultation exercise in 2019 on the plans for Orchard Road. More than 1,500 members of the public had shared their feedback with many suggestions calling for more green spaces and family-friendly facilities along Orchard Road.
The current 1.3ha Istana Park will be redesigned to combine with the existing Dhoby Ghaut Green and Penang Road Open Space to create a larger green space complete with a new nature playgarden on Orchard Road. There will be new connections from Istana Park to Fort Canning Park via an upcoming linkway at 9 Penang Road (former Park Mall) and proposed sheltered escalators leading from the pedestrian underpass at Canning Rise to Fort Canning Centre at the hilltop.
Fort Canning Park is directly connected to Singapore River via both elevated and underground pedestrian links. In future, pedestrian connectivity can be further enhanced with new delightful public spaces at Clarke Quay road and Merchant Road that the community can enjoy.
Proposed plans for the Dhoby Ghaut sub-precinct include pedestrianising a section of Orchard Road from Buyong Road to Handy Road. This allows Istana Park to be better integrated with the Istana entrance and the commercial establishments in the sub-precinct. Together with Dhoby Ghaut Green and Penang Road Open Space, the redesigned Istana Park can more than triple in size to form a new green oasis in Orchard.
Flexible spaces will be created for lifestyle programming, for commercial establishments to extend their activities into a park setting, and to bring greater vibrancy into the entire area. Some of the activities for the area can include both small- and large-scale events such as pop-up stores and major festivals and celebrations to enliven the area and enhance visitor experience. Existing retail offerings along this stretch will front the new park to create an experience of shopping in a garden.
To cater to families, part of the new Istana Park can be transformed into a rustic nature playgarden for children to explore and interact with nature. In addition, there can be a water play area with undulating topography amidst a lush natural setting.
Fort Canning Park
In 2019, NParks completed works for the first phase of enhancements for Fort Canning Park. These enhancements include the restoration of nine historical gardens, as well as improved pedestrian access to Fort Canning Park from the River Valley Foothills. The public exhibition will feature the second phase of enhancements for Fort Canning Park, which include strengthening the connectivity from Istana Park to Fort Canning Park via an upcoming linkway at 9 Penang Road (former Park Mall). To improve accessibility to Fort Canning Centre at the peak of Fort Canning Park, sheltered escalators are planned at Canning Rise.
Fort Canning Centre, which was home to the highly acclaimed Bicentennial Experience exhibition, will be repurposed as a historical gallery to showcase the rich history of the hill through the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries. The gallery will also feature changing displays in partnership with local and international galleries and curators. Visitors can look forward to new multi-concept lifestyle offerings that complement the art, heritage and cultural elements of the area, as well as new F&B offerings at the Centre.
On the other side of Fort Canning Park is Jubilee Park, a family-friendly park where children can play with swings, see-saws, logs and slides hugging the hill slope. The first phase of the park opened in 2019 and it has been popular with families. The park’s 0.48ha play area will double in size to about 0.98ha in 2021 and will feature a new nature playgarden. New play features include a discovery rain garden, play mounds, sand play, trampolines and climbing structures. Plans are afoot to further integrate the park, extending it to the Foothills which will have new F&B offerings and flexible events spaces.
NParks will be calling for proposals for multi-concept lifestyle offerings for the Fort Canning Centre, and for an F&B outlet and event space at The Foothills in end-February 2020.
From the Foothills of Fort Canning, visitors can walk from the lush green hill to the riverfront.
With plans for a new landmark waterfront hotel development in Clarke Quay under the Government Land Sales Programme, the public can look forward to more vibrant and delightful public spaces along the riverfront. In addition, with the upcoming redevelopment of Liang Court, part of Clarke Quay road that currently separates Liang Court and the river can be transformed into an attractive pedestrian promenade. In the longer term, to further enhance connectivity in the precinct and to create a continuous hill-to-hill connection from Fort Canning Park, ideas such as new linkages across Merchant Road to connect Singapore River to Riverside Village and Pearl’s Hill City Park are being studied.
When completed, the public will be able to enjoy a seamless belt of recreation and leisure stretching from Orchard Road featuring a redesigned Istana Park, onto Fort Canning Park, and towards Singapore River and eventually Pearl’s Hill City Park.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, unveiled these plans at an exhibition titled “A Green Oasis in the City: From Orchard to Singapore River” at The URA Centre today. The exhibition, which is open to the public, will run from 13 February 2020 to 12 March 2020.