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History of Upper Bukit Timah Road . Bukit Panjang
Bukit Panjang is a planning area and suburb in the north of the Western Region of Singapore. The town consists of 7 sub-zones: Dairy Farm, Jalebu, Bangkit, Nature Reserve, Fajar, Soujana and Senja.
Before it’s urbanisation, Bukit Panjang consisted of small villages and plantations in the 19th century. The name means “long hill” in Malay, referring to the low hills that run through the town.
In the early 19th century, Bukit Panjang had factories such as the Nanyang Shoe Factory, the Lam Soon Canning and Rubber Factory and granite factories. Agriculture was also practised in the area, with the Dairy Farm being one of the most famous. The farm processed milk and ice cream from 1930 until the 1970s, when the government took it over.
Between 1939 and 1945, the Japanese, who ruled Singapore during World War II, ran the rubber plantations for their benefit. In 1945, their rule ended with the return of the British, who established Bukit Panjang as a resettlement area for displaced squatters and refugees.
The government developed plans for affordable social housing to meet the housing needs of the growing population. In 1983, the government, through HDB, planned to build flats for 30,000 families in Zhenghua New Town (now Bukit Panjang New Town). By 1986, 2,000 apartments were completed, and residents moved in.
In 1990, there were 17,514 housing units in Bukit Panjang, with 56,989 residents, 86% of which were high-rise buildings. At that time, the area had few facilities such as schools, shops and community centres. Therefore, residents had to travel to neighbouring towns to meet their needs.
The government recognised the need for better infrastructure and started building new public facilities. Thus, a new market, a community centre, more schools and an MRT were built to improve connectivity to other parts of the island.
Today, Bukit Panjang is a self-sufficient town with a population of more than 140,000. There is a good mix of private and public housing and a wide range of amenities. There are many attractions in Bukit Panjang, such as the Dairy Farm Nature Park and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
The introduction of the Downtown Line (DTL) in 2015 was a turning point in the region’s transport system. The DTL provides residents easy access to the city centre and the rest of Singapore.
Under the URA Master Plan, there are further plans to transform Bukit Panjang into a vibrant community. This is done by expanding transport links, developing more community facilities, improving access to nature and creating family-friendly facilities.
Overall, Bukit Panjang has made great strides in its development. From its humble beginnings as a collection of small villages and rubber plantations, it’s now a thriving residential town with a rich history and a promising future.