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Memo to The Ministry of National Development

Introduction and Background

Holland Village is a neighborhood situated along the border between Bukit Timah and Queenstown in central Singapore. The village is a renowned retail and dining destination for youths and tourists. It is dominated by and frequently visited mainly for its restaurants and bars and a few specialty businesses. Hugh Holland, an architect and amateur actor who lived in the region, inspired the neighborhood’s name (Trivic, 2021). Gradually, in the 1950s and 60s, the community changed, and most of the houses in the area, recently know as Chip Bee Gardens, were occupied by British army personnel and their families. The businesses and amenities in Holland Village were initially designed to satisfy the needs of the foreign families for its location near Orchard Road and Tanglin Road. Investors saw the estate’s potential and erected colonial mansions and condos for these families, while shop owners established boutiques that catered to the foreign clients’ specific demands.

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The village became a social sanctuary for foreigners living in the area due to its proximity to the city and the introduction of specific services. Signs of European influence can still be evident in the village today. The giant windmill atop and Holland shopping malls and a more miniature windmill in front of the Holland Village market and the food center are the most visible (Huang & Ross, 2018). The neighborhood’s European charm is enhanced by an assortment of cafes, many of which are located on the main streets, Lorong Mambong, which is blocked to vehicular traffics on weekends, allowing businesses to put up vast, social alfresco eating and drinking areas. The village is known for robust economic activities, such as tourism, trade, manufacturing, and financial services (Fesselmeyer & Seah, 2018). The neighborhood believes in its rich culture and meals, sports, and historical sites. These make Holland Village strong bargaining power in the economic development of Singapore as a whole.

Observations and Analysis

The region under the Buona Vista division is strongly governed, experiencing fair elections constantly. With good governance, which depends more on the society’s well-being, the village has diversified and networked good roads connecting it easily with neighboring towns enhancing its trading activities. Holland village was among the severely hit neighborhoods in Singapore by COVID-19. Many of the residences died, most so elderlies with businesses closed and fancy activities generating revenue for the town leading to sloppy development and cries (Song & Richards, 2021). Since the village depended for long on foreign experts and workers to supplement the local workforce, the disease led to high levels of unemployment, as many people vacated their ancestral countries and villages for safety. Isolation, contact restrictions, and economic shutdown have all had a significant impact on the mental environment in the town.

These policies seriously jeopardized the mental health of children, most so adolescents. Despite that, the disease brought opportunities for personal growth and families bonding as many people traveled to their natural homes, its negatives exceeded the advantages. The major issues were anxiety, lack of peer contact, and fewer options for stress regulation. Parental mental illness, marital violence, and childhood maltreatment were among the concerns. The landlords were not left behind as rent payments nightmares could not leave them. With many people vacating their rental houses and some declining to pay due to challenging situations, paying land rates to the government also became a problem. The village’s misfortunes did not end there as they were slapped by hiked transportation costs which needed them to spend more on something they did not have. The tourists too were blocked, limiting the village’s sources of income and even good care of the tourists’ areas. Physical school activities were also halted, including learning, forcing parents to adapt technological learning assets for their children, which were relatively expensive.

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Leaving COVID-19, the village is too faced with some problems, diminishing their developments. Inappropriate waste dismissal has coated the town. There are not enough bins and pits to appropriately dump the wastes, which pollutes the environment, shying off investors and the general villagers from erecting business structures there (Fan & Sing, 2021).

Memo to The Ministry of National Development

Poor water supply in some parts of the village, particularly places occupied by average individuals, has been a big issue. Not all the village’s road networks tarmacked, restricting more effortless movements everywhere during rainy seasons. The neighborhood also experiences inadequate housing, some with a hiked rental fee which is not affordable for every resident within the village. The village also shares some weaknesses, such as insufficient recreational areas for its residences. Sporting stadiums are just a theory to the occupants denying children and youths adequate facilities to showcase their sports talents. Improper placement of the fireplaces within the village houses has also led to significant damage in case of fire outbreaks in the neighborhood. With the rapid development of new housing and commercial constructions, traffic problems need to be investigated (Diao & Fan, 2021).

Memo to The Ministry of National Development

Even though the car pack is complete, there is sometimes a long line of cars trying to get into Lorong Liput at night. As a result, some people park carelessly, generating even more traffic bottlenecks. Although of the weaknesses and problems, Holland village has built a reputation as a creative commune and an incubator for local artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs throughout the years. The main stretch of Holland village along Lorong Mambong oozes a subtle European elegance and is home to many outdoor cafes, restaurants, and popular lifestyle shops. It is home to gyms, studios, and hospitals that embrace health and fitness among the residents (Chan, 2019). The village also possesses good education facilities at favorable costs, eliminating children’s illiteracy. The Singapore Botanic Gardens, located less than five kilometers from the town, is an excellent place for nature enthusiasts and those wishing to get from crowds. The garden provides enough opportunities for families to bond over leisurely walks and picnics in a beautiful setting. Commuters can take the circle line from the village to the park, only two stops away.

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Recommendations

Perhaps electronic signposts should be built along Holland Avenue near the Lorong Liput entrance to tell vehicles of the number of parking lots. The parking is full to direct the motorists to use the Holland multi-story car park (Benita & Piliouras, 2020). More houses should also be constructed with land rates reduced to enable affordable housing for everyone in the neighborhood. The roads should be turned to highways to help curb congestion and tarmacked all for accessibility during rainy seasons. More boreholes and water reservoir areas should be constructed to address the issue of inadequate water. The ministry too should allocate funds for the village cleaning to do away with poor waste dismissals. More recreational areas plus stadiums should be built to help nature children and youths’ talents. With vast lands still in some parts, the ministry should encourage more industries to deal with unemployment issues. Lastly, the development ministry should add fire stations within the neighborhood to help in the immediate handling of fire incidences.

Conclusion

Being a rapidly commercial developing neighborhood, the above problems should be addressed for Singapore to enjoy high revenue collection. With good infrastructure and recreational activities, more tourists shall be attracted, and sure the development of the village will be rapid. Though of the minor problems faced by the neighborhood, Holland village remains among the best communities in Singapore to live in and enjoy the enticing lifestyle ranging from meals, health, fitness, jobs, and recreation. Its further development plan should sure be drafted for Holland village to keep its name.

References

Benita, F., & Piliouras, G. (2020). Location, location, usage: How different notions of centrality can predict land usage in Singapore. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 540, 123221.

Chan, F. H. (2019). Claiming Ordinary Space in the “Cosmopolitan Grid”: The case of Singapore. In The New Companion to Urban Design (pp. 110-121). Routledge.

Diao, M., Fan, Y., & Sing, T. F. (2021). Rational pricing responses of developers to supply shocks: Evidence from Singapore: [Rational Pricing Responses of Developers to Supply Shocks: Evidence from Singapore]. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 190, 802-815.

Fan, Y., & Sing, T. F. (2021). Macroeconomic policy-induced wealth effects on Chinese foreign housing investments. China Economic Review, 69, 101675.

Fesselmeyer, E., & Seah, K.Y. S (2018). The effect of localized density on housing prices in Singapore. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 68, 304-315.

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Huang, N., Li, J., & Ross, A. (2018). The impact of the cost of car ownership on the house price gradient in Singapore. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 68, 160-171.

Song, S., Lim, M. S., Richards, D. R., & TAN, H. T. W. (2021). Utilization of the food provisioning service of urban community gardens: Current status, contributors and their social acceptance in Singapore. Sustainable Cities and Society, 103368.

Trivic, Z. (2021). A Study of Older Adults’ Perception of High-Density Housing Neighborhoods in Singapore: Multi-Sensory Perspective. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(13), 6880.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Memo to The Ministry of National Development'. 21 November.

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