Our Neighborhood

Gene and I love the architecture and urban planning here. One of our favorite activities is walking in our neighborhood and in other beautiful areas that are so easy to get to by train. Every neighborhood seems to have a walking path, playground, park, public shelter, covered walkway (to shade sun and block rain) covered over street walkway, seating, and exercise area. We see many people outside playing and exercising including the very old.  Practicing good health and exercise are practically mandated here. (please see the photos below).

There are often shops and medical services on the ground floor of the public housing and schools nearby. The developments we’ve seen are attractive, well kept, clean, and have lots of green spaces and activities. And, since owning a car is relatively uncommon, transportation is amazingly convenient, inexpensive and arrives every few minutes, and every kind of shopping is readily available.

With Singapore’s population of nearly 6 million people on an island that is 14 miles by 27 miles, high rise living (25-45+ stories) is the norm. We live on the 18th floor of a 44 story condo. The high rise housing for the vast majority of Singaporeans, whether owned or rented, is government built and affordable based on income. If you’re not Singaporean like us, or you are and you want a higher-end place with amenities like a pool and gym, there are many private condos to own or rent. These two housing types are intermixed across the island.

And, Singaporeans who are found to be homeless  are provided housing. We’ve been told that police keep an eye on people who are seen for a few days on the streets and they refer them to a government agency. Homeless are provided with a single room occupancy alone or with a roommate in a building with services and amenities. You won’t see many single family homes or even low rises in Singapore since land is at such a premium.

Worth noting, a cultural shift has begun where more younger adults and married couples are moving out on their own, not choosing the tradition of living with their parents into their 30’s, or living with the husband’s family permanently. As a result, senior citizens do not have young family members to take care of them. Now there is a growing need for senior housing and assisted living and many projects have begun being built.

The experience of Singapore’s urban planning and architecture is a big part of what makes this place a world class city-state.


 

Our New Apartment Home

After many more days of looking in many different parts of town, all with their positive attributes, we are going to rent a lovely apartment on the 18th floor of The Metropolitan. It is close to the train (only a few stops from Gene’s office), close to wet markets (farmers markets) and Hawkers Center (prepared foods from vendors), and has a great view.

The wet markets and hawkers centers are not everywhere, at least not near where we are now, but in many neighborhoods; they are a big draw for us to live in a more traditional neighborhood.  In addition to younger working people, we saw many elderly and young families here. This building has many Japanese and Indian residents living here, too.  Since owning a car is so expensive, having these shopping areas near train stations or bus routes is quite common.

We need to get furniture and kitchen stuff.  This should be fun, or frustrating, probably both.  We have been looking online because we need to get most of it pretty quickly.  I think we move in late July.

First meal prepared
First meal prepared

 

 

Apartment Hunting

Gene’s firm has a dedicated real estate agent who helps each of the newly transferred employees find a place to live.  Regina lined up a number of fascinating places to see. All are two bedrooms, 2 baths, some partially furnished, others not. The latter two locations were too zoomy, even too modern inside for our tastes, and too far from a walkable neighborhood, but amazing architecturally and a real eye-opener for us to see Singapore’s commitment to cutting edge design.  A new visual experience for an architect from Wisconsin, and an architecture fan.

Besides the cool experience, it helped us decide that we want a more urban walkable neighborhood.  These apartments are on the bay and would require a train ride to most places we’d want to go.  It will probably make us compromise on the view from our apartment, but if it is in the city, there are marvelous views everywhere when walking about.

Caribbean at Keppel Bay
Caribbean at Keppel Bay

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Interlace Apartments - just opened
Interlace Apartments – just opened

 

Reflections - Keppel Bay on China Sea
Reflections at Keppel Bay on China Sea

 

Living in The Treetops

The Treetops Executive Residence is a lovely place to stay for a longer period of time while in Singapore; the units have kitchens and separate rooms. Gene’s employer often has its employees stay here when they come from Wisconsin to work on team projects at the Singapore office. If they are here a few months, they often stay at The Treetops the entire time. If the project is longer, like Gene’s of 15 months, we will stay here a month, get acquainted with the city, find an apartment, furnish it, and stay there for the duration of the project.  And, have fun!

Great breakfast every morning.
Great breakfast every morning.
Prawn and Tofu Laksa
Prawn and Tofu Laksa
Kitchen cooking meal Treetops IMG_1902 30
Making dinner of catfish
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Treetops courtyard

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View from our living room window
View from the lobby and restaurant
Pool from room window
Pool from room window

 

Street view after rain
Street view after rain