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KGA unveils draft Place Plan and launches public engagement to chart future of Kampong Gelam Historic Area


  Published: 26 November 2022

The Kampong Gelam Alliance (KGA) today unveiled its draft Place Plan to chart the future of the Kampong Gelam Historic Area1, and kickstarted public engagement efforts to invite views and feedback for the plan. 

From Emerging Stronger Conversations to the draft Place Plan 

Conceived as a blueprint to guide the long-term strategic development of the Kampong Gelam Historic Area, the draft Place Plan maps out possible strategies to strengthen four key aspects of the precinct in the long term: celebrating history, heritage, culture and the arts; creating public spaces and activating places; improving connectivity; as well as curating tenant mix and protecting traditional trades. 

The draft Place Plan was borne out of the Emerging Stronger Conversations2 held in end-2020. At the session facilitated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), a group of core KGA members and other Kampong Gelam stakeholders including residents, institutions and historic businesses discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the precinct. They also brought up ways to leverage Kampong Gelam’s unique heritage to enhance its resilience and relevance to each generation of Singaporeans.  

Taking the ideas raised into consideration, KGA expanded its membership and progressively developed a draft Place Plan, as a way to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic, and set out directions to move the precinct forward in the next five years.

The draft Place Plan focuses on three core values that are representative of Kampong Gelam. Firstly, ‘Community’ embraces Kampong Gelam’s position as a cultural and social space for Malays/Muslims and all Singaporeans. Secondly, ‘Respect’ calls on all parties to come together as custodians of heritage with mutual respect. Finally, ‘Resilience’ connects tradition with modernity and continuity with change. These values form the foundation for how the community intends to develop and manage changes for the area.

In the draft Place Plan, KGA has proposed a range of possible initiatives to sustain, promote and celebrate the community, culture and heritage and spirit of enterprise of the Kampong Gelam Historic Area. These include organising programmes that add to the rich socio-cultural character of the precinct, forging strong partnerships to curate a more ideal tenant mix in the precinct and encouraging a car-lite precinct. 

Please refer to Annex A [PDF, 332kb] for more information on the draft Place Plan. 

Commencing wider engagement on the draft Place Plan 

The wider Kampong Gelam community and members of the public are invited to share their feedback on how to make this cherished precinct more relevant, resilient and attractive, for present and future generations alike. 

From now till 15 January 2023, the public can share their views on the draft Place Plan, as well as aspirations for and any changes they hope to see at Kampong Gelam, by participating in an online survey at Together with the survey, the public is encouraged to send a virtual postcard to share their favourite memories of Kampong Gelam.  

In the coming months, KGA will also be organising “walkshops” for interested members of the public to provide more in-depth feedback on the draft Place Plan. This will be done through site walks covering various locations in the Kampong Gelam heritage area, where participants can provide place-specific views on topics such as enhancing public spaces and connectivity. More details will be released on KGA’s Facebook in due course.  

Feedback collected through these public platforms as well as engagements with Kampong Gelam businesses, cultural institutions and community partners, will be used to refine the Place Plan over the next few months. 

KGA will also study insights yielded from the National Heritage Board (NHB)’s recently concluded Kampong Gelam Citizen Engagement Project3 to map and document heritage businesses in the precinct, to explore ways to support traditional trades and heritage businesses, while attracting new ones to the precinct.  

In addition, KGA will continue in-depth discussions with selected stakeholders to develop a suitable precinct management model that will enable it to deliver the final Place Plan. 

KGA welcomes offers of resources from the wider community that can benefit Kampong Gelam. Individuals and organisations who are keen to be involved in the future management of Kampong Gelam or be a part of KGA, are welcomed to reach out to KGA to join in this conversation.

Mr Saeid Labbafi, Chairman of KGA said, “Unlike a shopping mall that has a master landlord to curate the experiences, Kampong Gelam comprises diverse stakeholders with varying interests, skills, knowledge, resources and connections, and we should come together to shape Kampong Gelam into what we envisage it to be collectively. KGA is therefore engaging different stakeholders to understand their aspirations as well as concerns, and we would like to also invite the public to get involved in sharing their feedback for the Kampong Gelam Historic Area with us as we refine the draft Place Plan. We have to do this to ensure that Kampong Gelam continues to thrive and remain special for us and the future generations.” 

Minister of State for National Development and Advisor to KGA, Assoc. Prof. Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said, "KGA's engagement exercise for the draft Place Plan is an important one to ensure that Kampong Gelam continues to thrive as a centre of community, culture and enterprise. I encourage everyone to show your support for Kampong Gelam,and help shape its future by sharing with us your diverse views and perspectives. We must sustain the values and heritage that make Kampong Gelam distinctive, and at the same time, refresh the precinct so that it remains vibrant and relevant for future generations of Singaporeans and visitors to enjoy.” 

The engagement exercise is supported by the URA, which oversees and supports the heritage conservation and placemaking efforts in the historic area.

1 The Kampong Gelam Historic Area comprises the gazetted conservation area, as well as key modern developments around the perimeter of the conservation area. Refer to Annex B [PDF, 128kb] for a map of the historic area.
2 The Emerging Stronger Conversations were launched in June 2020, as part of the Singapore Together movement, to reflect and discuss how to forge a better way forward amid challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  
3 The Kampong Gelam Citizen Engagement Project to map and document heritage businesses was conceptualised by NHB in partnership with URA. Working closely with volunteers, the project documented unique stories behind 45 heritage businesses in Kampong Gelam, uncovering details of their journey, their craft and how they have contributed to the precinct’s cultural identity. Stories of these businesses can be found on