Tengah: Singapore’s upcoming “Forest Town”

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Tengah: Singapore’s upcoming “Forest Town”
The new Tengah town has been the subject of much interest and discussion since the BTO launch in November 2018. With the government’s plans to develop it into an estate the size of Bishan, the neighbourhood will border much of Choa Chu Kang, Jurong, and Bukit Batok.

A brief history of Tengah

Tengah is a Malay word for ‘Centre’, but anyone looking at the country map can tell that Tengah is nowhere around the middle of Singapore. To understand the meaning behind its name, it’s necessary to learn more about its history.
Back in the 1850s, Tengah was a chu kang, a term that referred to gambir and pepper farms located around a river. This is also how neighbourhoods such as Choa Chu Kang and Yio Chu Kang get their names. Each chu kang was led by a kang chu, which translated to “Master of the River” in Teochew. This kang chu was responsible for all of the proceedings in his area, including rent, taxes, and opium trade.
In 1853, a man named Teng-Ah Tong became a kang chu, and earned the rights from the Johor nobility to farm the land around Kranji River. The section of the Kranji river that was under Teng-Ah’s control would soon take on the name of his concession and be known as the Teng-Ah river, before simply becoming Tengah.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of Tengah and the one most of us are familiar with is Tengah Air Base. Constructed in the mid-1930s by the British Royal Air Force, the airfield was built over the old farms, before being taken over by the Republic of Singapore Airforce.

What’s in store for Tengah?

Presently, much of the land has been cleared away to make way for the new housing town. Once it is developed, Tengah will be divided into five different zones, and is expected to house around 42,000 homes As a further bonus, the new Jurong Region Line (JRL) will also be servicing the area in 2026.
Once the JRL is completed, it is likely that properties along the area will see an increase in value.
If you’re interested in such properties, you could check out developments such as J Gateway and Lakeville.

Tengah’s Greenery

Nature will be a running theme throughout Tengah, and one of Tengah’s major attractions would be its 100m wide, 5km long forest corridor. Different species of rainforest trees will be planted along this road, creating a rich forest habitat that connects the Western Water Catchment Area and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The government has also planned for hiking trails to be incorporated into the corridor.
Another feature that will contribute to Tengah’s ‘Forest Town’ moniker would be the “community farmways” running through its housing precincts. The farmway sets about 2,000 sq m aside for gardens, which will allow residents to grow, consume, and/or sell their produce at farmers’ markets along the way. Through this initiative, HDB hopes to foster the ‘kampung spirit’ once more.

Singapore’s first ‘Smart HDB Town’

Slated to be the size of Bishan, Tengah will take up four MRT stations on the JRL: Tengah Plantation (JE1), Tengah Park (JE2), Tengah (JS3), and Hong Kah (JS4). There could, however, be another reason to justify the numerous train stations.
Tengah is set to be Singapore’s first-ever ‘Smart HDB Town’. Smart features such as utilities monitoring systems will be introduced across the whole neighbourhood. These features have seen use in smaller areas such as Yuhua, and can help to reduce energy costs or even alert family members when an elderly person has had a fall.
Electric car sharing will be implemented in Tengah – PropertyGuru Singapore
The government has also expressed plans to develop Tengah as a car-lite housing estate once it reaches critical mass. Roads will travel underground as they approach the city centre, freeing up spaces for bikes on the surface level. This would allow for a better flow of traffic for buses and other forms of transport, such as autonomous and self-driving vehicles.
Electric car-sharing will be implemented in Tengah in the future.
It’s good to know Tengah has made allowances for eco-friendly technology. However, if you must have a car, you can consider an alternative to petrol-based vehicles. Carparks will be now outfitted with charging ports for electric vehicles.
Tengah will also have a smart Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (PWCS). The PWCS essentially automates waste collection by using high-speed air suction to transport household waste to a centralized bin centre. This would eliminate the need for manual trash collection, and also control the spread of pests.
In the heart of Tengah will be a hub known as the Market Place, although it will only be developed in the later stages. The Market Place will house a sports hub, a community centre, a health and medical facility, and retail outlets. Ultimately, the idea is to provide the residents with so many amenities that they don’t have to leave Tengah to meet their daily needs.

Mitigating the Heat

Infrared picture of a crowd during rush hour - PropertyGuru Singapore
Infrared picture of a crowd during rush hour
Anyone who has lived in Singapore is no stranger to the sweltering heat and the humid weather. Most are familiar with the main reason – we are located along the equator. However, a less known factor is the Urban Heat Island effect.
Metropolitan areas tend to be hotter than rural areas due to the heat waste generated by electronics and the modification of land surfaces. To deal with this, Tengah has employed the use of Urban Microclimate Multi-Physics Integrated Simulation (UM-MIST) software in its city planning.
This technology makes use of 3D models to simulate how the landscape absorbs heat. Hot spots that are detected around Tengah will then be filled up with greenery to create a cooler, windier neighbourhood.

Connectivity to the rest of Singapore

Tengah will sit upon the JRL, connecting to the North-South line via Choa Chu Kang and Jurong East, and the East-West line via Boon Lay and Jurong East. While it is still a considerable distance from the Raffles CBD area, it is located remarkably close to the upcoming in Jurong Lake District – “Singapore’s second CBD”.
With a large number of developments happening in and around Tengah, investors might be looking at this neighbourhood closely in the years to come.
To get more guides like this, check out PropertyGuru.
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