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HDB Community Week 2021 honours the efforts of our volunteers and residents in building tight-knit communities. This year, our residents tell us what they envision for the future of heartland living and community connections.
HDB Community Week was launched on 24 Jul 2021, and live-streamed on HDB Facebook and Zoom.
At the launch, outstanding Friends of Our Heartlands volunteers and the winning teams for Lively Places Challenge 2020 received their awards from Minister for National Development Mr Desmond Lee.
Themed "Our HDB, Our Home, Together We Paint Our Future!”, HDB’s community art project captures the hopes, aspirations and dreams of HDB residents for what the future of HDB living could look like. More than 3,000 participants across Singapore painted their vision on totems, canvases and art cards which were curated into this digital art installation by artist Sun Yu-li. Here’s some of what they hope to see:
A digital installation of the artworks from the Community Art Project, such as painted totems or framed canvases, curated by master artist, Sun Yu-li.
View all 3,000 art pieces and find out more about our partners who made this community art project possible. Check out the favourite pieces voted by netizens below.
"Complex circuitboards! This is how I see future HDB towns. Many small but important components coming together to form a large connected town." - Muhamad Irfan, Nanyang Polytechnic
"My vision is that a smart and sustainable future is an intensive integration of native flora into HDB blocks so as to create a "city in nature". It also involves sustainable energy creation and consumption through natural sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower. The vast amount of plants would absorb carbon while the renewable energy sources do not create additional emissions, resulting in a healthier and more comfortable place to live in." - Elouise Lim McDonald, School of the Arts, Singapore
"There is a pond with many different species of fish inside that contributes to a larger aquaponic farm. It doubles as a tourist attraction with a huge bridge over it, beautified by flowering vines and pretty trees. This is how I envisioned my HDB town - filled with marine life and greenery." - Clarisse Choo, Fairfield Methodist School (Primary)
"My inspiration comes from the pretty flowers and trees around my HDB flat!" - Shania, Teck Ghee Primary School
"I draw inspiration from how we can tap on nature (plants and sun) for ideas on creating a sustainable lifestyle and neighbourhood. Therefore, I drew light bulb with a string mimicking a helium balloon to represent ideas that we have (about sustainable smart living) being a part of our lives, interconnected and weaved into different aspects." - Thng Shalyn
Watch how the art was created with the community!
Disclaimer: Filming was done in accordance with prevailing safe management measures.
The Lively Places Challenge (LPC) empowers the community to initiate projects that promote close-knitted and vibrant neighbourhoods. In 2020, the fourth edition of this innovation challenge brought about much cheer to 8 HDB towns.
Watch how residents and stakeholders have brightened the spaces and faces around them!
Disclaimer: Parts of the video were filmed before the Circuit Breaker in April 2020. Filming was done in accordance with prevailing safe management measures.
Excited to bring your community together? Take a look at the outstanding projects for Lively Places Challenge 2020 below or get more ideas from past Lively Places Programme projects.
Aspiring towards a clean and green neighbourhood, the team spearheaded an ambitious plan to build 5 thematic gardens within the precinct. Residents led in the planning, curation, creation, and upkeep of the community gardens. To date, 3 gardens have been built – a mural garden created by 200 residents and students, a “Climbing Vines Courtyard”, and vertical planters on pillars containing edible vegetables such as xiao bai cai and kailan installed by 30 dedicated residents. Stay tuned to this team’s exciting journey in completing the remaining 2 ‘G’s in 2021 – a sensory flora garden and a community planting field!
“The project got many of us collecting and recycling materials to beautify the area. With beautiful paintings and plants everywhere, it now has that homely, community feel that our family really appreciates.” – Ruan, participant who contributed to the upcycled decorations
With a growing proportion of seniors and a declining number of youths in the neighbourhood, the team wanted to find new and meaningful ways to bring the community together. Many neighbours expressed keen interest in greening activities, and arts and crafts. They also hoped to reach out to the less privileged and wanted to have more interactions with their neighbours. Putting these together, the team designed a 4-in-1 community incubator space hosting an indoor hydroponics system, food vending machines, an art gallery, and a space for social gatherings.
“Having a mini hydroponics set up like this is very good for the children and elderly. It is unlike outdoor gardening where there is sun and rain.” – Lynette, resident visiting the community incubator
Pets’ excretion causing bad smells and stains at common areas were regular complaints in the team’s neighbourhood. After multiple engagements with their neighbours, the team created a mini pets park out of a small plot of empty land, and equipped it with an obstacle course. Pet owners now bring their pets to this small park for their daily walkabouts. The new space also facilitated the creation of an interest group which encourages responsible pet ownership and gracious behaviours such as cleaning up after one’s pets.
“It’s a good thing because we get to know our neighbours through this project and interact more with people in the neighbourhood.” – Claire, resident visiting the pets park
Seeing that children in the neighbourhood were playing soccer at void decks near service roads which was unsafe and resulted in noise complaints, the team knew something had to be done. Through engaging their neighbours, the team got the idea to convert an existing under-utilised badminton court into a multi-purpose court which catered to a variety of games such as futsal, badminton and gate ball. They went further to develop an online booking system to facilitate use of the revamped space, which now boasts an average of 103 bookings per month!
“I feel very happy about the opening of the court. I got to play futsal with my friends.” – Avijit, resident attending the launch
The team of NUS students trained in architecture and computing wanted to explore using technology to revitalise HDB void decks. Partnering Tampines Ville RC, the team found that most residents were keen on health-related activities. They created a high-tech gaming and gathering spot that can accommodate other events requiring virtual projection, such as movie screenings and workshops. They also developed “Food Grab”, a motion sensing game, to promote healthy living and foster intergenerational bonding. The game can be played by residents who are wheelchair-bound and adapted for other themes in the future.
“I think this project is very interesting. It allows elderly to exercise, people to get together, and it’s fun!” – Linda, resident visiting the void deck
Inspired by how art has enlivened other neighbourhoods, the team thought of creating interactive murals about traditional games that could evoke memories among senior residents, and spark conversations with the youth. With feedback from neighbours, the team created a play area at the void deck featuring trick-eye murals depicting hopscotch, 5 stones, skipping ropes, and chapteh. They also promoted the Instagrammable and fun spot via a ‘Yesterday Once More’ photography competition. Residents can look forward to creating a snakes and ladders mural and building a dice structure in the coming months.
“Whoever did these murals did a good job. I like that the challenge focuses on getting people together, building kampung spirit.” – Mr Lynn, resident visiting the void deck
A team of Bangkit residents set out to design and beautify the common spaces at Blk 259 Bangkit Road and the Bukit Panjang Neighbourhood Centre through art. Besides an LED light sculpture installed at the neighbourhood centre, the team involved residents in the creation of wall murals with flower and butterfly designs, as neighbours shared that the surrounding nature is iconic to Bangkit. To recognise the community’s contribution to the art street, the team organised an online photo competition to invite their neighbours to visit the completed artworks.
“Hopefully with the murals, we can encourage people outside Bukit Panjang to join us here.” – Phylia, resident who viewed the murals
As stewards of the environment, Sharetings seeks to encourage a zero-waste lifestyle while bringing neighbours together. Partnering Choa Chu Kang Zone 6 RC, the team managed to galvanise more than 100 households to contribute their pre-loved items. Residents who needed these items could pick them up at no cost during collection day. Encouraged by the good turnout, the team plans to conduct quarterly outreaches to encourage more ‘kampung’ sharing. In addition, the team has also developed a mobile application to better manage the exchanges that are taking place organically between residents.
“Thank you for this meaningful event! Hope to have it more often! :D” – Resident attending the exchange
Seeing that many residents in the area are either working professionals or young families who may have limited opportunities to bond with their neighbours, the ITE College Central team looked for ways to turn neighbours to friends. The team worked with Bishan East Zone 1 Residents’ Committee to organise a Christmas celebration in Dec 2020 to bring festive cheer to Bishan residents. Art and craft workshops, and games were conducted at the void deck with safe distancing measures in place. These were streamed live, so that more families and neighbours could join in the fun.
“Great event! Very well organised and the kids love it! Well done to the organising team! Thanks for the hard work!’’ – Claire, resident who joined in the celebrations
Believing that food connects people, the team of lecturers and students from ITE College Central created a platform for seniors to share their signature recipes with the younger generation and their neighbours. With the help of Toa Payoh South CC, the team recruited 9 seniors living in the area to do cooking demonstrations for 12 dishes. The cooking demonstrations were filmed and uploaded onto the Youtube channel, ‘A Taste of Toa Payoh’. More than 4,500 views were garnered. The recipes were also printed as a calendar and collected by 200 Toa Payoh residents.
“Through this project, I can share my cooking and recipe with more neighbours.” – Sakmah, resident who shared a recipe
Keen to continue the tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year with a light-up at the neighbourhood centre, Tampines West Merchants’ Association partnered ITE College Central to bring the 2021 ceremony online. In the lead-up to the event, contests and games were held online. In the process, they broke the Singapore Book of Records for the largest Kahoot! game with 1,372 participants! On the day of the light-up, the community was treated to a dazzling sight and a heartwarming video featuring residents and shopkeepers extending their well-wishes for the new year. The light installation and activities reached out to 9,386 residents in total.
“The programme was really well done.” – Parwinder, attendee of the virtual launch
Passionate about fostering a more empathetic and connected community, students from West Spring Primary School brought neighbours together through a live demonstration. 115 residents and 10 seniors from Fei Yue Senior Activity Centre learnt how to make their own hand sanitisers and personalised their sanitiser bottles by signing off with their names and addresses. They included neighbourly messages on the bottles and were encouraged to give their completed bottles to their neighbours. What a clever way to spark conversations between neighbours and a timely reminder that we are never too young to contribute to our community!
“My son had a wonderful time making hand sanitisers. He also understands the importance of sharing with those who might be less fortunate than him.” – Aznijah, resident who participated in the workshop
The team comprising Pharmaceutical Science students from Temasek Polytechnic found that residents were keen to learn more about topics such as heart diseases, diabetes, and having balanced diets. In response, the students held a virtual health carnival in Mar 2021 to share information on these topics with residents. Besides inviting experts to advise on health topics such as pharmacy services and chronic diseases, the team organised quizzes to reinforce health knowledge, and introduce landmarks in Punggol and Sengkang to encourage residents to be more active. Bite-sized health information were also shared on social media.
“The materials were very informative and I learnt something that I was not aware of before. They were easy to understand as they were also in bite-sized pieces.” – Participant of the virtual health carnival posts
To emphasise the importance of protecting our environment, the team organised a series of activities, such as upcycling workshops, colouring contest, online quizzes and cash-for-trash. The highlight, a virtual event consisting of a talk, performances, and announcement of quiz and contest winners, took place during Earth Hour on 27 Mar 2021. The team also kept up its yearly tradition of celebrating Earth Hour with a huge ‘60+’ light installation at the neighbourhood amphitheatre. The process was recorded and played during their virtual Earth Hour event which drove home the message of climate change.
“I find this upcycling workshop very meaningful as we can recycle our things instead of throwing them away. I shared this with my neighbours and checked if they had items to recycle as well so that we can come down together.” – Karen, resident who attended the activities with her neighbours
Everyone has the power to make our neighbourhoods a better place to live in. As Friends of Our Heartlands, you can choose to Cultivate neighbourly behaviour, kickstart a project to Activate community spaces within your neighbourhood, or Facilitate community conversations at different segments of your volunteering journey.
Watch our Friends of Our Heartlands in action!
Disclaimer: Parts of the video were filmed before the Circuit Breaker in April 2020. Filming was done in accordance with prevailing safe management measures.
Our outstanding volunteers from the Friends of Our Heartlands network have drawn on their unique talents and skills to bring about vibrant and welcoming neighbourhoods. Get to know them below:
A long-time volunteer with HDB since 2014 and our Gold Award recipient, Ha Eng has contributed in various community outreach events as a Friend of Our Heartlands. One impactful role she had taken up was leading Eco Trails, which showcases green innovations supporting eco-friendly high-rise living in Punggol. She often shares her own stories about old Punggol during the trails, bringing to life pieces of local history to an appreciative audience. To-date, Ha Eng has led 14 Eco Trails!
“When I spoke to residents at the MyNiceHome roadshows, some told me that the neighbourly tips I shared were helpful as they settle into their new homes. I’m very happy to know that I had sparked a culture of gracious and responsible heartland living.” – Tan Ha Eng
To find out what makes Happy Neighbours and Happy Homes, the Kindness Club of Edgefield Primary gathered stories of neighbourly acts from Punggol residents and shared them during the school’s Open House in 2019. Visitors penned thank you notes to their neighbours which helped “grow” a Gratitude Tree. Reaching out to an estimated 500 Punggol residents, this project has certainly sowed the seeds for a kinder and happier community!
"We managed to get many residents to write on the gratitude cards to thank their neighbours. I really enjoyed talking to them as well." - Karina, Student, Happy Neighbours to make Happy Homes project
Ming Jing joined the Friends of Our Heartlands network in 2017 as a tertiary student and now journeys with the network as an adult volunteer. His passion for building communities can be seen in the wide range of HDB-led initiatives that he is involved in. Having started off with sharing neighbourly tips, he has since branched out as a community volunteer facilitator who helped teams refine their ideas in HDB Build-a-thon 2019 and mentored younger volunteers who conduct block visits.
“I remember the time when I first started volunteering with HDB to engage residents during block visits and facilitate focus group discussions. Recently, I was a guide at Singapore Bicentennial! Meeting and interacting with strangers is not easy but the trainings by the Friends of Our Heartlands network have given me the opportunity to sharpen my skills on communication and facilitation.” – Teo Ming Jing
Deyi Secondary School has been a long-time partner of HDB since 2014. In 2019, students from Deyi Secondary conducted the first peer-led Friends of Our Heartlands training, where Secondary 2 students went through the course and facilitated the training session for their juniors. The peer-led training was a good opportunity for students to practise sharing key tips on neighbourly behaviour before all of them participated in a block visit at Teck Ghee Square in Aug 2019.
“Preparing and co-leading the training was a great experience. I felt like I learnt more by preparing for my juniors’ training. I also had to build up my confidence to speak to my juniors.”
– Joshua Noel, Secondary 2 Senior Facilitator
Yvonne started her Friends of Our Heartlands journey by organising handicraft workshops to share the joy of crafting under the Lively Places Programme in 2018 and 2019. During the circuit breaker period, Yvonne stepped forward to take on the role of a Safe Distancing Ambassador with HDB. She volunteered time out of her weekends to share with the Keat Hong community about the importance of mask-wearing and safe distancing, contributing to Singapore’s effort to overcome COVID-19.
“Sharing my handicraft skills with the community makes me happy! It is also an honour for me to be able to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 and make the community a better place to live in.”
– Yon Choy Yin Yvonne
While some perceive COVID-19 as an obstacle to building neighbourly ties, volunteers from Singapore Polytechnic saw an opportunity to bring the community together. They organised the “Let’s Go Clean & Green” online project that highlighted the importance of cleanliness to Punggol residents, and “Masking It Up!”, which involved Tampines residents embroidering their own masks. Residents created their own COVID-19 protection pieces for each session – hand sanitiser holders and masks with embroidered flowers – and were encouraged to share their handiworks with their community.
“Through this project, our team hoped to enhance the community spirit in Punggol while raising awareness on SG Clean messages such as the importance of practising personal hygiene. We encouraged Punggol residents to show concern to the vulnerable groups in the community by making a hand sanitiser holder that is later gifted to the elderly.” – Ng Dong Wei, Team Leader, Let’s Go Clean & Green project
HDB Community Week 2021 is brought to you by the Housing and Development Board, in collaboration with the following partners:
The HDB Community Week, first launched in 2012, celebrates community bonding initiatives, ideas, and success stories. Find out what happened in the past editions of HDB Community Week!