In this three-part series, we take a look at Tiong Bahru’s next-generation offerings and how the estate has evolved from a pre-war housing estate to one of the most charming and sought-after districts in Singapore. This week, we look at the neighbourhood’s green heritage and how it has inspired a new generation of businesses in the estate. 

Stroll around Tiong Bahru and you’ll begin to see why many of its residents feel that it is a natural respite from the city. While an influx of hip cafes and fashionable shops has transformed it into one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods, the estate still retains a tranquility and quaintness due to its green spaces and laidback atmosphere.

Ms Amy Yap, owner of the One Olive floral boutique at 61 Seng Poh Lane, told Keppellandlive in our new Tiong Bahru Insider video series: “I love to walk around the area. There’s a lot of nature to look at, and the neighbourhood just has a very slow way of enjoying life.”

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Ringing up green business

Tiong Bahru Park, for instance, is a green cornerstone of the estate. Built in 1967, just two years after Singapore’s independence, the 3.3 hectare park has jogging trails, fitness corners and exercise stations, a large playground for children and benches in the cool shade of its many trees.

Many businesses in the neighbourhood also have eco-friendly credentials. Maissone, a homeware and bed linen store at 20 Eng Hoon Street, sells bamboo straws as an alternative to plastic disposable ones, handmade natural sea-grass rugs from Vietnam, as well as other elegant and green furnishings. 

The Yes Natural minimart at 58 Seng Poh Road stocks organic personal care products and environmentally-friendly detergents, soaps and dishwashing liquids. At the Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre at 83 Seng Poh Road, diners can take heart that food waste is no longer discarded but collected to be converted into fertiliser instead.

A natural heritage continued

Many of the houses in Tiong Bahru, both old and new, have also been built with care for the environment. Most of the housing blocks are low-rise and designed with natural ventilation features such as courtyards and spiral, open-air staircases.

Highline Residences, the newest condominium in the neighbourhood developed by Keppel Land, also pays homage to the estate’s architecture and greenery. It includes an open lawn on the Level 1 that is perfect for picnics and parties, as well as a unique, 180-metre-long green ridge on Level 5 that has amenities such as an art lounge, butterfly garden and fitness pavilion. 

The condominium also has a spice garden with local plants such as nutmeg and wild betel, and its three towers are designed with green sky terraces. 

180m elevated green ridge at Highline Residences

A neighbourhood in a garden

“I think the gardens and greenery in Tiong Bahru is very fascinating,” said Ms Yap. “Recently, we did an interesting Italian wedding right in the couple’s backyard. Everybody really makes the effort to plant beautiful landscapes outside of their homes. Even my shop – we have an olive tree outside!”

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