Void deck, Tampines


The void deck, the empty ground floor level of the public housing that 85% of Singapore lives in, is unique part of life here.

A space like this is where I learned to ride a bicycle, to skate, to give play to my imagination. It’s where weddings and funerals happen.

It’s a space to gather, to seek shelter, to pass through, to rest.

In being a void of living, it allows space for life.

Random factoids:

My Mum lives in Tampines, a suburb of Singapore that not too long ago, was a forested home to villages, farms and sand quarries. Residents were resettled to make way for the construction of the a satellite township that today houses around a quarter of a million people (there are around 5.7 million people in this tiny country).

Tampines New Town was the winner of the United Nations’ World Habitat Award in 1992.

Tampines is named after a tree.


  1. Mark Kinsman says:

    Interesting. In stark contrast to the density of population, it seems this would only be empty during the few hours before sunrise. Solitude in the midst of a crowd.

    1. Charlene says:

      Mark, these areas are never usually crowded. They’re more a space to pass by than linger… unless there are kids playing in them, or a wedding or funeral going on. But they are certainly a breath of fresh air, and space in an otherwise crowded country!

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