Dwellings Issue 3/2017
The Future of Home
In this issue, we round up the new research partnerships that HDB has forged to prepare itself for the future. The research areas span numerous disciplines, but together, their insights would help shed clearer light on how to better plan, design, and build the Smart homes and towns of the future.
In this future, digital technologies will play a key role in enabling the creation of better living spaces that are highly attuned to the changing needs of their inhabitants. They will also help citizens and residents forge new ways of bonding as they discover common grounds and interests through greater engagement, renewing the ‘kampung’ spirit of old.
While the promised benefits may sound utopian, many have already arrived at our doorstep. HDB has embraced innovative ideas as part of its commitment to build better living environments. This year’s International Housing Forum, in place of HDB’s annual Professional Engagement and Knowledge-sharing (PEAK) Forum, makes for an opportune platform to jumpstart the exchange of ideas towards creating resilient, inclusive cities through Smart and sustainable development.
While the exciting future of homes draws in closer to us, the charming, well-loved old towns are given new life in big and small ways. We revisit Queenstown to see how its beautiful ‘Housing in the Park’ concept has taken shape amid distinctive housing projects. HDB dwellers like Shereen and Shermaine Ng, have also taken up the task to rekindle the kampung spirit in the heartlands by sweating it out. Through fun workout sessions, they have inspired heartlanders to help one another embrace an active lifestyle and be better prepared for the future.
Dwellings Issue 2/2017
One Wall At A Time
In the environment beyond home are spaces where lives meet. In HDB estates, planned and designed for nurturing communities, and aided by efforts that facilitate community bonding, neighbourliness reigns.
In innovating and refining, HDB works closely with residents in drawing up the new plans to renew beloved neighbourhoods under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. The innate charms of Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Pasir Ris, the latest ROH towns, will be thus enriched with ideas from the ground. Revisiting Punggol Town, and rediscovering the new additions that were introduced as part of the first ROH programme, provide affirmative testament.
HDB has developed construction techniques with similar resoluteness, and leveraged cutting-edge methods to improve productivity and develop building and engineering capabilities. As Singapore’s largest housing developer, HDB’s central role in spearheading technological advancements have translated into cost, quality, and time advantages that benefit home buyers.
Beyond the larger plans to build better towns, the seemingly smaller efforts to improve can bring about meaningful surprises to the heartland. Through the brushstrokes of artists and HDB dwellers like Belinda Low, the commonplace void decks of HDB blocks are turning into special places for all. She shares with us her dream to someday fill her town with picturesque landscapes, one wall at a time.
And so it is with improving HDB homes and towns.
Dwellings Issue 1/2017
Bridges to Greater Heights
The road to the future is paved with both opportunities and challenges. Steering HDB through is Chief Executive Officer Dr Cheong Koon Hean. Under her leadership, HDB’s pursuit of liveable homes and smart and sustainable towns has evolved along innovative paths, bringing awards and recognition from peers and professional bodies locally and internationally. In 2016 Dr Cheong became the first person in the world to receive 2 prestigious prizes in the same year – the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development prize, and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) 2016 Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award.
As we take a look at how neighbourhoods and precincts are being transformed afresh, we also reflect on how these have impacted the lives of residents and the towns themselves. Bringing not just the newness of novelty, the changes have actively sought to retain and build upon the spirit of community and tradition. With the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, residents involved have been rehomed in new flats with old ties and friendships kept intact and their concerns assuaged. In the influx of new joints and hipster cafés, the heartland is stirred anew. Thriving alongside the humble ‘kopitiams’, or coffee shops, they have enriched both the local food fare and the time-honoured local coffee lexicon.
With the rejuvenation and new energy injected in the heartland, Singaporeans have also started to embrace the unique character and heritage of HDB towns and estates. Artist and HDB dweller Ernest Goh could not agree more. He shares with us his fondness for the ordinary sights and sounds that are authentically from the heartland, which have inspired some of his works. One of which is a community mosaic art wall which will soon grace the Kampung Admiralty project. As HDB bridges to greater heights, the community spirit endures in the heartbeat of its work.