Why is this new Toa Payoh condo (Gem Residences) such a hot topic? On the surface of things, Toa Payoh seems an entirely typical Singapore town. But what differentiates it from nearby Ang Mo Kio, or Tampines to the east? Indeed, as the first town designed and developed entirely by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Toa Payoh is the archetypical granddaddy of all public housing towns in Singapore. Providing a proving ground for the budding culture and social architecture of public housing from the 1960s, as well as the community institutions that have since become ubiquitous, Toa Payoh may well be the quintessential modern Singapore town.