Hougang is a residential area situated in the North-East part of Singapore. It is bordered by Upper Serangoon to the south, Punggol to the north, Yio Chu Kang to the west and Sungei Serangoon to the east. According to 2015 housing statistics, this new town was the prime public housing estate in Singapore with exceeding 51,000 residential units.
Early History of Hougang
The name, Hougang, is a roman name of Au Kang in Mandarin, a Chaozhou and Fujian term implying “river end”. The name connotes the region starting from the 5th milestone junction of Yio Chu Kang and Upper Serangoon roads to the seventh milestone junction. This is the meeting point of Upper Serangoon and Tampines Roads.
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The area used to be popular for pig farming and occupied largely by Chinese Teochew people. Another remarkable part was Tua Jia Ka Village which implies the “foot of the big well”, its name referred to the renown well in this region. The Village is a popular destination in the area and also well-known as Somapah Serangoon. This village is famous for Chinese storytellers and medicine men, Wayang performances (Chinese opera), and street food. The Kangkar fish market built by Catholic missions at the beginning of the 20th century was situated at the end of Upper Serangoon Road. It was later moved to Punggol in 1993 after its land area was acquired to develop sections of Hougang.
1. Public Housing
To enhance the character of HDB in Hougang, public housing units with unique designs were launched. The units were designed with more Shapley curves including rounded railings and balconies, semicircular doorway and arched balcony not found in other estates
1984, the town ended development of mansionettes due to the high cost of construction as compared to 5 room flats that fetched the same amount when sold. Friendly flats were introduced 4 years later and by 1995, the town was a favourite HDB estate. Due to the huge demand of these units, the government decided to build extra 19, 000 flats in their large 200ha space. This increased housing units in the town. As of 2015, Hougang had over 51, 646 flats with up to 179, 800 occupants making Hougang the largest HBD new town with respect to the land area.
2. Town Centres
The initial town centre was planned with a colonial architectural style. During 1983, the HBD launched the then biggest supermarket-emporium covering an area of 7,056 sqm. The supermarket situated at Hougang Street 21, a few distances away from the town centre. The year 1984 marked the transition of Hougang to become the 1st public housing in the county with a fast food restaurant following the establishment of a McDonald’s outlet in the area. It also became the first residential estate with a bowling centre after the opening of the S$ 4 million worth Striker’s Bowl at Hougang Avenue 1. It featured a modern automatic scoring system and a 26-lane gallery. In 1998, Hougang was revamped and its name changed to Kovan City.
3. Public Transportation
In 1983, the Hougang interchange was launched at Hougang street 21 but was moved a couple of years later to a site near Hougang MRT Station. The old interchange was converted into a parking lot and community hall. The Kovan and Hougang MRT stations were commissioned in 2003 adding to the North-East Line. In 2005, the transitioned to become an interchange for coaches to Thailand and Malaysia and its name changed to Kovan Hub.