Paya Lebar Air Base: The next flight – Reimagining the site as time flies

Paya Lebar Air Base: The next flight – Reimagining the site as time flies

Paya Lebar Airbase (PLAB)'s existing site will soon be developed into a new generation town with residential, commercial and recreational spaces. enCity team members joined Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP) team to conceptualize the upcoming development.
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Paya Lebar Air Base (PLAB), which is about to be relocated, has seen a significant portion of our history, and the site and surrounding area has taken up five times the size of Toa Payoh Town (817 ha), Singapore’s first new town built by Housing Development Board (HDB). The existing site will soon be developed into a new generation town with residential, commercial and recreational spaces. enCity team members joined Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP) team to conceptualize the upcoming development.

“It was a great experience being part of a collaborative team comprising respected members of SIA and SIP, to find common ground and push the envelope amidst everyone’s different strengths, passions and experience. Through our proposal’s focus on holistic wellbeing, we hope to generate a new paradigm of planning ready to meet the needs of the future.” – Kimberly Lum (Associate in Policy + Planning, enCity) said.

Kimberly (left) and Dzung Do Nguyen, enCity Co-founder + CEO (right) at the PLAB exhibition at Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Singapore. 

The main strategies that guided our design are to focus on (i) a Innovative and Active Community; Diverse and Creative Jobs & Spaces, (ii) a Neighbourly and Distinctive Community; Liveable and Inclusive Environment and (iii) a Sustainable and Playful Community; Green and Blue Heart of the East.

Neighbourly and Distinctive Community; Liveable and Inclusive Environment

Charming yet exclusive was the vibe that residents of the neighborhood associate with the airbase that has over time become a familiar backdrop. In developing distinctive districts anchored on PLAB’s Heritage existing infrastructure; the runway, bunkers and other historic buildings will be adapted and transformed and districts can be centered around heritage features. Self-sustained and community-centric neighbourhoods are created by promoting interaction in local destinations. The plan includes a long term development strategy. planning for flexible community spaces and adaptable sites for community needs while capturing moments of the past. 

Credit: URA, SIP & SIA

Innovative and Active Community; Diverse and Creative Jobs & Spaces

The plan proposes good connections to surrounding communities; transforming the current barrier to mobility into an integrator that ensures efficient movement and active spaces for people while enabling smart, flexible and diverse work spaces. Features include pedestrian pathways, bicycle mobility, green spaces and AV mobility. It also includes mixes of uses within buildings of the future which would harmonize this large space back into the surrounding urban fabric with ease.

Sustainable and Playful Community; Green and Blue Heart of the East.

In looking towards the future, to create a sustainable heart at the East of the island, the strategy includes stitching the town together with a green and blue spine that provides natural spaces, a network of pathways, recreation and waterfront spaces while supporting ecological and climate resilience. The new town also caters for infrastructure to power the town sustainably and drainage solutions to protect it from urban flooding.

Credit: URA, SIP & SIA

The urban solutions and design concepts take us a step further in developing towns and cities that are not only self sustainable, but our people and ecology first, while blending our rich pasts with our optimistic futures. “Participating in this project was an exciting opportunity to shape the future of my country. Not only is the Paya Lebar Air Base a unique trove of Singaporean aviation heritage, it also offers a chance to envision new possibilities for innovation, creativity, sustainability and community building”, Kimberly reflects. We’re excited to see the upcoming town spread its wings. 

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“Participating in this project was an exciting opportunity to shape the future of my country. Not only is the Paya Lebar Air Base a unique trove of Singaporean aviation heritage, it also offers a chance to envision new possibilities for innovation, creativity, sustainability and community building”, Kimberly reflects

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