HDB was set up on 1 February 1960, during a housing crisis. At that time, many were living in unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements. Only 9 percent of Singaporeans lived in government flats.
Taking over from its predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust, HDB was tasked with solving the nation's housing crisis. HDB built 21,000 flats in less than three years. By 1965, it had built 54,000 flats and within 10 years of its formation, had the housing problem licked. Today, about 82 percent of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.
That such difficult goals were met only reflected the sound strategy adopted towards public housing, which had three important fundamentals.
Firstly, the concept of a sole agency in charge of public housing enabled more effective resource planning and allocation. This concept made it possible for HDB to secure land, raw materials and manpower for large-scale construction to optimize results and achieve economies of scale.
Secondly, a total approach to housing was adopted - from planning and design to land assembly and construction. The housing task was viewed as a seamless whole - through allocation, management and maintenance.
Lastly, strong government support in the form of political and financial commitment, and legislation helped put the early public housing programme on the right track to housing the nation.
Last Updated on 03 Feb 2012