Heritage charters to help preserve historic districts

To preserve the heritage of historic districts, Heritage Charters can be drawn up to guide the kinds of activities and uses allowed in these areas. These can be formulated jointly by the public, private and people sectors, said Mr Lee Tzu Yang, co-chair of the focus group appointed to look into the issue.

There is also a need to develop more iconic structures to give each area in Singapore a distinct identity, the focus group said.

As more than 80 per cent of Singaporeans live in public housing estates, significant buildings and structures – including town centres, wet markets and schools – should be retained even as neighbourhoods are redeveloped. The group also suggested that more signage and storyboards, including audio features, be introduced in historic districts to raise awareness of their significance. Community groups and educational centres can conduct walking tours in these districts.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s parks – especially those of greater significance – should be designated “National Parks”, which should have more basic facilities such as restrooms and shelters.

These recommendations were discussed last night at a public forum. Participant Lee Yi Peng, the eldest son of the Prime Minister, asked focus group members if there was a risk of damaging heritage and nature areas if they are made accessible to the public.

Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, director for capability development at the centre for culture and communication at Republic Polytechnic, said the authorities do make sure nature areas are not endangered when they are made accessible.

Source : Today – 7 May 2010

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