A green belt that I am familiar with, passing by regularly by bus or on the East West line MRT train ride from Clementi station for a few decades when I am heading into school in the Tanjong Pagar/Downtown area, this journey continues into my professional working career. I didn’t place too much attention into this green belt is known as Dover Forest between Clementi and Buona Vista MRT stations. When news of future public housing development was announced for Dover Forest, placing it in the public limelight, although it may seemed to be too late, I still wanted to explore, photograph and document about this green belt that I didn’t pay much attention over the decades traveling to and fro past this green belt regularly. Here is my short visual storytelling journey of Dover Forest – An Exploration and Documentation.
The beginning of the Dover Forest transformation
In October 2022, there were news releases/coverage on the upcoming development of Dover Forest on Straits Times (ST) and Channel News Asia (CNA) news. There would be around 3,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to be built in the eastern half of Dover Forest. This project was launched in November 2023, groundwork has now begun with boards coming up, fencing up around the Dover Forest West in January 2023, the beginning of Dover Forest transformation has begun.
Dover Forest West will soon be cleared for its upcoming BTO flats development, it’s the beginning of the Dover Forest transformation.
Exploring Dover Forest with the Canon EOS R10
Before I went I went on a guided tour led by Chua Chin Tat to explore Dover Forest in October 2022 with the Canon EOS R10 that I had for review at the time. I was continuing on from my earlier documentation of Dover Forest with the Canon EOS R7 camera in August 2022.
Chin Tat had been a strong advocate to preserve, protect, conserve and document Dover Forest. When I went for the guided tour led by Chin Tat, I learnt more about the history, nature and wildlife of Dover Forest. This may not be a big green space, however it has grown and transformed into a green space for wildlife, it’s also a green belt in our heavily built-up urban landscapes.
Inside Dover Forest, we can spot former remnants of a kampung (a.k.a. village) that used to be there. In the very near future, they will be gone forever from our physical environment, maybe we can view them in a digital environment.
If you take into consideration that Dover Forest is a secondary forest, that is not too big land size, tucked in between some pretty heavy built-up urban housing, schools and transport nodes. The forest, the tall trees, canopy, and wildlife residing in Dover Forest, is quite rich and diverse.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of Dover Forest, some folks have commented that this looks like Central Park in New York City. What would this view be like when the BTO project is completed?
Dover Forest Exploration and Documentation Collection
More photographs of my Dover Forest exploration and documentation collection can be found inside my Flickr album – Dover Forest/Clementi Nature Trail.
In the coming years as part of Dover Forest transformed into a public housing estate, I would continue to document and update the changes of both public housing landscape (Dover Forest West) and the other remaining green belt (Dover Forest East) and the Clementi Nature Trail.
Balancing a country’s growth and national development versus protecting and preserving green nature spaces in Singapore can be a very delicate and tricky situation for people on both sides of development/growth and preservation/conservation.
Just another of my ongoing small and humble efforts to photograph and document old places and changing/disappearing landscapes in Singapore with my visual stories, photographs and videos. My humble Dover Forest exploration and documentation collection, I hope my works can play a small role and contribution, and I would continue to photograph and document, whenever I am able to.
If you like to know and understand more about Dover Forest, please visit https://doverforest.sg that is created and maintained by Chua Chin Tat.
* A TGH Photography x Canon EOS R10 Explorer Series Production *