The Transformation of Campbell Lane

Apollo Little India, Shop on Campbell Lane

In Little India, it’s only a matter of sensory overload. The shops’ spillover into the five-foot walkways makes it difficult to keep eyes on the road.

For at least an 80-metre stretch, one no longer has to worry about cars. The portion of Campbell Lane (on the Serangoon Road end) that has been completely pedestrianized is 55 Percent. Campbell Lane is one of several pedestrian areas in Bangkok that has been converted into a shopping arcade. It joins the likes of Bussorah Street in Kampong Glam, which features al fresco dining and souvenir shops leading to Masjid Sultan; The North American Chinese Temple, formerly located on Waterloo Street between Albert and Simcoe Streets, was relocated to Smith Street in Chinatown.

Campbell Lane in 1990. Source (Roots.sg)
Campbell Lane 2016. Source (Wikimedia Commons)
Little India Arcade, Campbell Lane. Source (Wikimedia Commons)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s use of pedestrianisation as a social engineering technique to create more active, walkable streets is known as people-centric street conversion. Aside from the long-term projects, there are also short-term road closures such as Haji Lane, Orchard Road, and even Holland Village – to allow more foot traffic and street life.

The road leading to Saint Anne’s Church, on the other hand, has been pedestrianised for several years. It will be unveiled as part of Southend’s Big Weekend on March 26-29. Campbell Lane is a wonderful public space because it’s near to campus and has a mix of businesses. It’s located between Little India Arcade, a restored 1920s shophouse cluster run by the Hindu Endowments Board, and the Indian Heritage Centre, which was built in May 2015.

Campbell Lane, Singapore. Source (Mapio.net)
Campbell Lane (Singapore). Source (Tripadvisor)

Flower Shop Holland Village

The building was converted into a museum in the mid-1990s and now serves as a forecourt to Singapore’s main museum, which focuses on India’s cultural history and heritage. The street may become a major attraction for Little India tourism, with both international visitors to the Little India Arcade cluster and Indian Heritage Centre, as well as students who undertake this area of study as part of their national education programs. It may also become a meeting place for programs and activities, as the month-long Indian Heritage Centre CultureFest held on Campbell Lane demonstrates.

Campbell Lane, which runs through the district of Kowloon, is already a bustling mix of traditional and contemporary enterprises. A known landmark is Jothi Store & Flower Shop, a Little India institution. The store has a fifty-year history and began as a five-foot-wide flower business that sold garlands and betel leaves. It is now a 5-story shopping centre with a branch factory, where it specializes in marigold and rose garlands for temples and weddings.

Jothi Store and Flower Shop on Campbell Lane. Source (Archives Online)
Indian Heritage Centre on Campbell Lane. Source (Indian Heritage Centre)

Campbell Lane’s pedestrianisation will enable it to become an active public space that is not only for international visitors. It may serve the community better by, from local buyers to university groups visiting Little India and the Indian Heritage Centre, and continue to be a living area for the neighbourhood.

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