by Travel Weekly Asia | February 05, 2019
Greenery abounds: Dhoby Ghaut will be a green zone with family-friendly attractions such as outdoor playgrounds and sheltered event venues. (Photo Credit: National Parks Board)
Singapore's Orchard Road is set for a major revamp with a 2.4km stretch of new retail concepts, attractions, entertainment and events in each of four sub-precincts.

Part of the road may also go car-free to connect green spaces at the Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green and the open space at Plaza Singapura, turning it into a garden oasis with a playground and sheltered events space.

Plans to rejuvenate Singapore's iconic shopping belt were unveiled by government agencies following a six-month study and consultations with stakeholders. 

Speaking at the at the official launch of Design Orchard (January 30), Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing said the revitalisation project aims to position Orchard Road as a place at the forefront of innovation with "different experiences at every turn".

"We will 'bring back the Orchard' to make this a uniquely Singaporean lifestyle street where people will want to come here to launch their products. We want to keep sufficient wide spaces for people to try out new concepts, so that every generation will have the opportunity to try out new concepts, rather than for us to plan everything."

Orchard Road will welcome more greenery, with more trees and shrubs to be planted according to a different colour palette for each sub-precinct as part of the plan to "Bring Back the Orchard". 

It will still retain its retail core, with more mixed-use developments to be built on vacant parcels of state land along Orchard Boulevard, which will also welcome the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line Orchard Interchange MRT station.

"All cities have their own popular shopping streets and neighbourhoods. In Singapore, Orchard Road is our premier shopping district. But it is facing stiff competition from other cities, and has to adapt to rapidly changing retail trends," said Minister for National Development and Co-Chair of Ministerial Steering Committee for Orchard Road, Lawrence Wong.

From April, there will be a one-year trial to bring in activities from retail and food and beverage pop-ups to arts and entertainment events to the pedestrian walkways in Orchard Road.

Side streets such as Killiney Road and Orchard Turn will also be enhanced for better connectivity, while elevated link bridges may be built to make it easier for visitors to cross the junctions of Orchard and Paterson Roads, the agencies said.

Dhoby Ghaut will be a green zone with family-friendly attractions such as outdoor playgrounds and sheltered event venues.

Tanglin will be branded a mixed-use neighbourhood with arts and artisanal choices, with the conserved Tudor Court used to house more arts and cultural offerings.

Somerset will build on its positioning as a youth hub with new lifestyle options and the possible transformation of the Grange Road open-air car park into a dedicated events space, the agencies said.