Woodlands – No longer simply the Northern Gateway

Woodlands

Woodlands

 

Woodlands – No longer simply the Northern Gateway

 

The area of Woodlands came into prominence with the building of the Johor-Singapore Causeway in 1923. It was from here that Singaporean residents would come in order to get across to Johor Bahru, and from there the rest of the Malaysian peninsular. Likewise it would be the first part of Singapore witnessed by those coming in the opposite direction. The customs checkpoint at Woodlands is something still very much remembered by the older generations of both Singaporeans and Malaysians alike.

 
Development proper began in the 1980’s with the building of several HDB residencies. These were added to and expanded upon, the last project reaching completion in 2004. Overall there are now a total of 112,175 HDB flats in the area, housing approximately 192,700 residents.

 
Of late, that development has been ramped up and expanded into other areas. Woodlands has been designated one of 4 regional centres on the island (the other three being Tampines, Jurong East and Seletar). This government initiative has been set up to create self-sufficient regions away from the CBD and traditional heartland of Singapore in order to make the islands economy more balanced and less focussed on one small area. This is good news for Singapore, and particularly good news for Woodlands’ residents. The project means that they will see improved education, leisure, commercial, transport and retail facilities in their region. There is 700,000sqm of new commercial space planned alone. It is also going to have a makeover, in terms of green spaces.

 
The regional centre will consist of two distinct areas: Woodlands North Coast, and Woodlands Central. The first of these is by far the larger of the two and covers an area of up to 100 ha. As the name suggests, Woodlands North Coast will make full use of its marine location. The waterfront is to be transformed, with new landscaping brought in to produce shaded areas, green pockets and enhanced connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. There will be a more business and residential focus, with 4 unique and distinct precincts set up. It will be linked to the second and smaller of the two districts via tree lined boulevards as well as a pedestrian mall.

 
Woodlands Central is set to be a retail and mixed use area, focussed around the existing Woodlands MRT. The already popular and impressive Causeway Point Mall – the 7th biggest in Singapore, has recently undergone a $72 million facelift, and features around 250 retail outlets over its 10 floors.
Transport is set to be improved as well. When the new Thomson Line is completed, there will be direct trains to the city centre, as well as connections to the future rail link to Malaysia, which will hark back to the region’s past.

 

 

 

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