• Published Date: 23 Jul 2015

    The UEM tool helps planners identify shaded areas to site 
    community facilities like playgrounds and childcare centres


           The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has been conferred the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award 2015 for its Urban Environmental Modelling (UEM) town planning tool. This award is a testament to HDB’s efforts to leverage on technology to create public housing that is well designed and sustainable.


    2      Residents in Punggol Eco-town and in upcoming housing estates such as Bidadari and Tampines North, stand to benefit from this award-winning tool. The tool has the ability to conduct analysis on the wind flow, solar irradiance and shaded areas within each town, allowing new flats to be designed to provide maximum thermal comfort and a more conducive living environment.


    Driving Sustainability and Liveability in HDB Towns


    3      The UEM town planning tool is one of the key strategies that HDB adopts to better understand the urban environment. The tool has the ability to simulate various aspects of a living environment, allowing planners, architects and engineers to experiment and determine how best to site new flats to optimise wind flow, or to minimise heat and glare. It provides a virtual platform for testing a planned environment, before the actual implementation of developments, thereby reducing the risk of physical trial and error.


    4      For example, during the planning of Punggol Eco-town, the UEM tool was used to determine the microclimatic conditions at a town level. A simulation of the township was created to help town planners understand how the wind flows within the town so that it can be harnessed to cool the town and improve air quality. Such detailed simulation is also carried out at a district and precinct level so that planners and architects can refine the housing typology, building layouts and orientation.


    5      Treelodge @ Punggol was the first HDB project to benefit from the use of such wind flow simulation. The blocks in this precinct are oriented in a direction that maximises the wind flow, optimises natural ventilation and minimises the need for electrical cooling. Subsequently, this tool was also used to facilitate the planning of new housing precincts within the Punggol town.


    6      Besides wind flow, the UEM tool is able to assist town planners with identifying areas within the town that would receive large amount of heat from the sun throughout the day. This will enable planners to introduce more greenery in these areas to minimise heat gain. Similarly, the modelling tool highlights the shaded areas within the towns. This helps the planners to site community facilities like playgrounds and childcare centres in the more shaded areas, where possible.


    7      The design of public housing will continue to evolve, with new housing typologies introduced to create even more liveable towns. HDB will increasingly leverage such modelling tools to complement HDB’s town planning efforts. Overall, it represents a new generation of smart planning tools to build smarter cities.


    8      Dr Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer of HDB, said: “HDB is honoured to win this prestigious engineering award. This is a great encouragement to us as we harness technology to create a better living environment for our residents, and make HDB towns more sustainable in the long-run. To benefit more residents, this award-winning tool will be used to plan and design more new HDB projects. One such new project coming on stream is Bidadari, which will be launched in September this year. We expect these new generation public housing to receive strong interest from home seekers”.