• Published Date: Issue Apr/ May 2022

    Even as HDB develops new and modern public housing, the continual renewal and rejuvenation of existing homes and towns are crucial to ensure they remain cherished homes for generations of Singaporeans.

    Yishun Pond was rejuvenated under the Remaking Our Heartland programme

    In the last decade, waves of change have swept across HDB heartlands. As a new generation of thoughtfully designed and sustainable homes started to take shape in new housing areas, the skyline in more established locales was also undergoing great transformation. 

    Much of this was a result of HDB’s holistic upgrading efforts at the flat, block, precinct and town levels, to bring older towns and estates closer to the standard of newer ones. This ensures HDB residents can enjoy a high quality of life, regardless of where they live.

    Eligible home owners will get a new clothes drying rack as part of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)

    Better Homes with the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)

    The HIP includes the Enhancement for Active Seniors programme, which aims to make homes safer and more comfortable for the elderly

    Homes for Different Life Stages

    Maimunah Abu Bakar has lived in her Bedok North block since it was built almost 40 years ago. “I first moved into a flat on the 6th floor with my parents and siblings, before moving to another flat one floor above after getting married. That was where I raised my children, and forged lifelong friendships with my neighbours,” she says.

    Even after her children flew the nest to start their own families, Maimunah has chosen to enjoy her golden years in the flat she regards as her “home for life”. Lingering concerns over whether she could live independently and safely were assuaged, when her block was offered HDB’s Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP), followed by the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

    These programmes are highly subsidised. LUP provides lift access to every floor while HIP addresses common age-related maintenance problems in flats. As a senior, Maimunah could also choose items under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme to help her move around safely and easily at home, such as grab bars and slip-resistant tiles for bathrooms and toilets.

    “More than anything, I am happy I can continue to live safely and comfortably in a home that I cherish so much, even as it grows old with me,” says Maimunah.
    While HIP was previously offered only to flats built up to 1986, like Maimunah’s, the programme is now being extended to those built between 1987 and 1997 — with updated improvement items, such as modern retractable laundry racks and laminated timber doors, to ensure that even more flats can remain in good condition as they age

    Residents like Mr Chua Soo Eng and his family (pictured left) have benefitted from enhancements such as a new main entrance gate and toilet upgrading as part of HIP

    Renewing Towns for All Generations

    More than the four walls of the flat, the HDB home also extends into the wider precinct and town. Large-scale rejuvenation efforts, such as the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme, help breathe new life into older areas to keep them up-to-date and vibrant for residents young and old. After a facelift, Bedok — a town developed in the 1970s — now boasts a modern integrated transport hub, new facilities at its Town Centre, and improved connectivity to recreational hotspots like Bedok Reservoir Park and East Coast Park.

    ROH is into its fourth series, and with each new batch of towns identified for the programme, HDB has stepped up its consultation sessions to actively seek out residents’ ideas and understand their aspirations for the living environment. The feedback will help shape features that are relevant to the community’s needs.

    In Pasir Ris, one of the towns in the third series of ROH, residents were consulted on the community spaces they would like to have along a 5 kilometre-long cycling and walking path. Some suggestions that came out of these consultation sessions included reading corners and community cafes. Easy access to more community spaces was also on their wish list, as working from home or hybrid working arrangements have become the new normal in a post-COVID world.

    Long-time Pasir Ris resident Angela Chua is looking forward to a rejuvenated town. “Pasir Ris has so much to offer. Besides the usual amenities, there are recreational facilities, beautiful parks and the beach. I am excited to witness my town transform.”

    An upgraded community pavilion with rooftop greenery and a community garden in the Jurong Lake area

    The Outdoor Play Corridor, managed by NParks, was created at Bedok as part of the Remaking Our Heartland programme. It connects the town centre to Bedok Reservoir Park and East Coast Park

    Bringing Sustainable Living to the Heartlands

    HDB has also made inroads to upgrade existing towns to be more sustainable and eco-friendly under the HDB Greenprint. In Yuhua and Teck Ghee, green technologies, such as solar panels and pneumatic waste conveyance system, have been deployed to provide residents with a cleaner, greener and more pleasant living environment.

    Building on this, HDB announced a new Green Towns programme in 2020 to make all its towns more sustainable by 2030, with a focus on 3 key areas — reducing energy consumption by adopting solar energy and smart LED lighting solutions; recycling rainwater for non-potable uses; and cooling HDB towns via cool coatings applied to buildings as well as intensifying greenery around HDB estates.

    These sustainability-focused upgrading programmes have struck a chord with green-conscious residents, who are keen to do their part to combat climate change. Nadrah Sadali says: “I make a conscious effort to live an eco-friendly and more sustainable lifestyle, such as bringing my own food containers when I buy takeaway food. I would love to live in a home that is sustainable too.”

    The Green Towns Programme is a 10-year plan to make HDB towns more sustainable and liveable