Paya Lebar Air Base Will Turn Into 150,000 New Homes In 2030s, Flats Will Be Naturally Breezy

22 August 2022 | BY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during the National Day Rally 2022 that Paya Lebar Air Base will relocate and make way for a town.

paya lebar air base redevelopment

As the 2022 edition of the National Day Rally came to a close, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminded all of us that Paya Lebar Air Base is slated to move starting in the 2030s. In its place will be a new town that could house 150,000 homes. That’s as much as the entirety of Punggol and Sengkang combined.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the PM first announced this move in 2013 during that year’s National Day Rally. But now that almost a decade has passed since the initial notice, the next generation can start fantasising about a potential future in the Paya Lebar enclave, rather than having to live in a BTO on the far outskirts of Singapore.

Repurposing the 3.8KM runway into the town’s central spine

paya lebar air base redevelopment
An artist’s impression of the repurposed runway.
Image credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority

One of the ideas proposed by PM Lee is to repurpose the 3.8KM runway into the “town central spine,” and to “turn it into a green connector.” Given Singaporean’s obsessions with green corridors and picturesque public spaces, this would surely be a hit that draws people even if they live in Choa Chu Kang.

paya lebar air base
A possibility of a “green connector” in the East that runs through the former Paya Lebar Air Base runway.
Image credit: Prime Minister’s Office

Flanking both sides of the former runway will be plenty of residential and commercial blocks, including an estimated 150,000 new homes. 

paya lebar green corridor
Image credit: Prime Minister’s Office

To put things in perspective, Sengkang and Punggol combined have about 150,000 residential homes. And since the runway is already aligned to the direction of prevailing winds, the new homes can be oriented in the same direction, bringing in tons of natural breeze and cooling air.

Neighbouring estates like Hougang can have taller buildings

The redevelopment of the former Paya Lebar Air Base’s 800 hectares of land does not end at its borders. In case you didn’t know, the air base required a height limit on the immediate surroundings, which would be lifted once it relocates.

With that out of the way, estates neighbouring the former air base like Hougang, Punggol, and Marine Parade can have developments that go even taller than before.

hougang balcony view
The view from Hougang would be *chefs kiss* on a high floor.

While we probably won’t see skyscrapers dotting the landscape in the heartlands, future buildings and developments would probably boast 40-odd floors. Here’s to hoping that lift breakdowns don’t happen often.

Redevelopment plans of Paya Lebar Air Base

The redevelopment of Paya Lebar Air Base isn’t going to happen overnight. At the very least, we’ll only start to see some movement when the next decade rolls around, and it might only be in the 2040s that we’ll be able to move into the next generation of BTOs in the area. 

According to PM Lee, URA has already engaged public and industry partners to explore redevelopment concepts, so it might be sooner rather than later that we’ll see any real mockups.

Nevertheless, it’s heartening that the government has not left out the Eastsiders, especially with all this talk about making Jurong the “CBD of the West”. Besides, 2030 isn’t too far away; we’re already more than halfway through August 2022, by the way. 

You can start planning for your children or grandchildren to have a home in this sure-to-be popular neighbourhood. After all, PM Lee’s worry isn’t that there aren’t enough homes for Singaporeans, but “not having enough babies to grow up and live in them.”

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Cover image credit: Google Maps, Urban Redevelopment Authority


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