The Toa Payoh New Town public housing estate

The area around Toa Payoh was initially occupied by a Malay kampong (village) and several vegetable farms before it was developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in the 1960s into Singapore’s second new town after Queenstown. Toa Payoh was the first new town project to be completely developed by HDB and also the first to have its own communal facilities, which included a town garden community plaza, library, and sports stadium. Various foreign dignitaries were shown round what was then considered Singapore’s model public housing estate, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. As a tribute to its pioneering status, HDB decided to shift its headquarters from Bukit Merah to Toa Payoh in 2002.