Toa Payoh, the second satellite town after Queenstown that was built by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), was part of a $230 million building programme announced by then Deputy Prime Minister and Acting National Development Minister Toh Chin Chye in August 1960. But due to difficulties in relocating the kampong (Malay for “village”) dwellers in the area, actual construction work only began in December 1964.
Tenders for the first building contract of 840 one-room housing units in Toa Payoh were called in November 1964. In total, Toa Payoh was envisaged to have 35,000 units to house some 250,000 people. Forty percent of the flats would be built as one-room rental flats, with the rest as three- or four-room flats. There were also plans to have about 480 shops, over 20 schools, and other amenities such as markets, clinics, cinemas, community centres, hawker centres and places of worship in Toa Payoh.
These amenities, together with the housing units, were laid out based on the “neighbourhood concept”. This concept divided Toa Payoh into several neighbourhoods before grouping them around a town centre that acted as a focal point for the entertainment and shopping needs of residents. Toa Payoh, therefore, became a self-contained satellite town in which residents would have easy access to the things they needed. Toa Payoh was intended as a model for subsequent satellite towns built such as Ang Mo Kio and Telok Blangah.
Source: National Library Board
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