Creating Vibrant and Sustainable Towns - HDB’s Estate Renewal Strategy (ERS)
Housing & Development Board

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
HDB was established in 1960 as the public housing authority in Singapore. An acute housing shortage at the time called for a housing model that could meet accommodation needs in the shortest time and at the lowest cost possible. Over 80% of the population then were living in slums and squatter settlements, with only 9% of 1.6 million people living in public housing. Early housing designs were therefore kept simple and utilitarian. From 1960 to the 1980s, HDB built about 360,000 flats to meet a high demand for housing that rose in tandem with a steep population growth. While the early HDB homes were basic and functional, subsequent public housing started to vary in design to suit growing aspirations and to give towns and estates stronger identities. With the evolution in design creativity and technical innovation, the differences in standards between the older and newer towns became more apparent. The older estates, although well managed and well maintained, lagged behind the newer estates in their design, and in the range of fittings and facilities. For example, residential blocks built before the 1990s did not enjoy the convenience of lifts serving every floor. Moreover, flats completed during the peak construction years in the early 1980s encountered more spalling concrete and water seepage issues. With the physical ageing of the towns and estates came the inevitable greying of the population. As younger residents formed their own nuclear families and moved out to the newer towns with the latest designs and facilities, they left behind not just aged parents, but also a vacuum in the social and economic life of the estates. Without the economic pull and dynamism of a younger population, the vibrancy and sustainability of older towns started to dull. Hence, the people factor was a vital ingredient in the plans for these old estates. Communities in the old estates largely comprised elderly who have called these estates home for many years. They were often not keen to move to other towns because they had built up a strong support network of close friends and neighbours. Often, these elderly would also be faced with financial concerns of making ends meet, relying on the single most valuable asset they have – their HDB flat. A suitable mechanism was therefore needed to improve these older towns to the standards of newer ones, inject new features and new life, and so help preserve the values of the properties. With a rapidly ageing population, HDB also needed to develop programmes to help its citizens age-in-place and live comfortably in a barrier-free environment with elder-friendly features and facilities. Land scarcity coupled with an increasing population makes it critical to maximise and optimise the land use and development of the mature and established estates, even as new towns and estates are created to meet the demand for public housing.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
With Government foresight that upgrading would arrest the physical obsolescence of a property or estate, and maintain its market value and attractiveness to potential buyers, the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) was launched in 1989 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. MUP brought improvements to the flat, block and precinct. Heavily subsidised by the Government, residents just paid a fraction of the improvement cost. Because they co-paid, and to encourage ownership amongst the community, residents had to collectively decide and support the programme before it could be implemented. MUP improved the living environment and helped enhance the flats’ value. It was also an investment in housing infrastructure and community preservation. Affected residents didn’t have to move out, making it less disruptive to the community’s social and economic life. As MUP reached a steady state in the 1990s, it became clear that alone, it couldn’t address the needs of some older HDB blocks. For example, due to design characteristics, some blocks couldn’t be retrofitted with lifts to stop at every floor. Keeping them in their existing state would perpetuate the sub-optimal use of resources especially in land scarce Singapore. There was a need for master plans to be drawn up so that upgrading and redevelopment could be done in an integrated manner. In September 1995, HDB consolidated the upgrading and improvement programmes into the Estate Renewal Strategy (ERS). Since then, the programmes under the ERS umbrella have evolved to meet a changing social and economic landscape. Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) Introduced in 1995, SERS enables HDB to acquire older flats for redevelopment. The residents involved are offered new replacement flats nearby so that they can enjoy modern amenities and a fresh lease of 99 years, while retaining communal ties in a familiar neighbourhood. To date, 79 sites of more than 39,000 flats have been announced for SERS. Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) Before the 1990s, HDB blocks did not provide 100% lift access. With a rapidly ageing population, the need to make all HDB flats barrier-free became critical. LUP, initiated in March 2001, has benefitted 500,000 households, especially those with elderly or residents with mobility problems. Home Improvement Programme (HIP) With the improvement needs of the older towns largely met, HIP replaced MUP in August 2007. HIP focuses on middle-aged towns, offering residents greater flexibility to decide on enhancements inside their flats like toilet improvements, new gates or front doors, or refuse chute hoppers. The Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme has been implemented together with HIP since July 2012. EASE retrofits flats with elder-friendly features (slip-resistant treatment for toilet floors, grab bars, and ramps) to improve residents’ mobility and safety. About 300,000 flats stand to benefit from the programme. Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) More than 200,000 flats are eligible for NRP. Introduced in August 2007, it focuses on neighbourhood improvements and integrates work across precincts, allowing for pooling of resources and providing a wider range of facilities. A key feature is the active engagement of residents who collectively decide on improvements for their neighbourhoods through dialogues and town hall forums. The improvements (covered walkways, playgrounds, drop-off porches, fitness corners) are paid by Government. Remaking Our Heartlands (ROH) Programme ROH was unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in August 2007 as a programme to transform young, middle-aged and mature HDB estates under a comprehensive blueprint, beyond the scale and scope of the ERS. While ROH plans aim at transforming these estates in a grand vision, it works together with HDB’s ongoing upgrading programmes to maintain the value and attractiveness of HDB towns.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Relationship building with residents is a key feature in ensuring smooth implementation of various ERS programmes. Residents have a say in shaping their living environment as upgrading packages are developed in close consultation with them, taking into account their needs and preferences. Community ties are strengthened in the process of making common decisions on the type of precinct facilities and even the name of the ‘renewed’ precinct. Communication and relationship efforts are intensified with SERS. In many countries, relocation is met with apprehension and resistance from affected residents because of the displacement factor. Bearing this in mind, HDB takes the unique approach of assigning dedicated officers to each household, ‘handholding’ residents from the time SERS is announced until they move into their new homes. ERS also relies heavily on technology to bring its benefits to residents. Lift upgrading for example has seen several award-winning innovations like Machine Room-less Lifts and prefabricated lightweight lift shafts which have brought lift upgrading to 250 blocks that previously did not qualify in terms of technical feasibility. Inside homes, upgrading work is more bearable for residents with award-winning innovations like the Ezi-Loo, a temporary toilet/shower that is provided in every flat undergoing internal upgrading.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Key to the successful execution and implementation of HDB’s ERS has been the integration of public participation and consultation into the various processes. Upgrading projects: Selected projects are announced by their respective Adviser (a Member of Parliament), usually at a local event for the residents, after which the Adviser forms a Working Committee (WC) comprising representatives from the local town council, grassroots leaders, HDB staff and the appointed design consultant for the project. Interested residents are also invited to attend the WC meetings which are held regularly to deliberate on the proposed design solution and upgrading package. In formulating the preliminary package, all factors are taken into consideration – residents’ preferences, budget, technical recommendations, maintenance issues, and physical site constraints. The proposed design solution is presented to the residents at an exhibition where residents are able to view models and mock-ups of the proposed improvements and then vote on whether they accept the package. HDB staff also personally visit the residents to explain the improvements to them, and the costs involved. A 75% majority support for the package is required for upgrading work to proceed. Before construction begins, consultants and contractors make house visits to understand better the internal conditions and the concerns of home owners. The WC continues to meet throughout the construction phase, to deliberate on technical and people management issues that crop up. Once the work is completed, a celebratory ceremony is held for the residents and all involved. Post upgrading, HDB carries out surveys to assess the effectiveness of the programme and if it has met the needs of residents. SERS projects: Selected SERS sites are announced by the government. This is followed by exhibitions or precinct consultation exercises where residents can provide feedback, obtain clarification, and provide suggestions and ideas to shape their new living environments. HDB staff also visit each household to explain the SERS programme, process, compensation packages and financial plans. Once their decision is made, residents are invited to register and select a new replacement flat. After the new housing precinct is completed, and the residents have settled into their homes, welcome parties are organised to mark a new beginning for them. In addition to ad-hoc surveys conducted during the process, biennial surveys are conducted after the SERS journey to obtain feedback for policy review and service improvement. ( ROH Projects: The announcement and implementation of ROH plans are customised to the selected towns/estates. The first batch of ROH towns was announced by the Prime Minister in 2007. Being a new programme with innovative ideas, a massive main exhibition was held followed by roving exhibitions to the selected towns, and intensive public consultation was carried out via focus groups, public forums and various other similar platforms. As one of the selected sites was a coastal town, a design competition was held to generate fresh and innovative design ideas for high-rise public housing along the waterway. The competition, opened to professional local and foreign architectural firms, secured the best housing design for the first waterfront parcel, and introduced new sustainable development concepts to realise the theme of ‘Green Living by the Waters’. Subsequent ROH announcements and exhibitions take place on a localised basis. And public consultation continues to be a key feature.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
As the ERS touches residents’ lives in very tangible and personal ways, successful implementation of the programmes hinge on their participation and consultation, especially for upgrading which requires entry into residents’ homes. Their understanding is crucial, as well as their cooperation as a community to obtain the 75% consensus required. The local Adviser and grassroots organisations are staple partners in the execution and implementation of the ERS. They play the valued role of representing residents’ collective interests, as well as bringing the benefits of the ERS to residents using outreach methods more comfortable and accessible to residents, for example over coffee or while chatting at the market. Whilst engaging the ‘heartware’, that is the residents themselves, HDB also ensures that the hardware aspects of all ERS projects are integrated by bringing aboard relevant experts. Every project entails working closely with public agencies that manage services within the affected sites. For ROH for example, HDB works with public agencies like the Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Environmental and Water Resources, Land Transport Authority, and the National Environment Agency, in formulating and implementing proposals. To provide variety and options in the various ERS programmes, the private sector is also invited to participate. In the Punggol Waterfront Housing Design Competition for the first public housing parcel along Punggol Waterway, more than 100 private firms participated and half of them were foreign. HDB also invited local architectural firms to generate exciting designs for two public housing precincts in Dawson Estate, another ROH project. Where relevant, NGOs are included to help realise certain initiatives. Under the ROH plans, requirements for planning cycling routes for example, needed to be reviewed and a steering committee was set up with representatives from cycling enthusiast groups. Civic groups were also engaged to look into proposals for heritage preservation.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The ERS is heavily funded by the Government with the belief that no HDB household should be denied an improved living environment and quality of life because of financial constraints. The cumulative grant of S$8,200 million (up to 31 March 2014) is drawn from the Government for upgrading projects. Nevertheless, upgrading programmes operate on a co-share basis with the Government bearing from between 55%-90% of the cost, with the remaining cost split between the residents and their local town council. The varying percentages would depend on the size of the flat and the upgrading package of improvements that the residents choose. This co-sharing approach encourages greater ownership and responsibility among residents for their living environment. In line with other public housing policies, bigger flat types receive fewer subsidies, and various financial assistance measures are available for residents who need help with the upgrading costs. The bulk of the costs of the upgrading projects are financed by grants from the Government. The upgrading projects could be very comprehensive, involving both sold and rental residential properties as well as commercial properties. The scope of works not only varies across projects, but also among blocks and flats within a project. There are different costing principles for different property types and upgrading projects. Such complexity required the development of well-integrated computer systems to capture and share critical information such as the improvement items chosen by residents to enable accurate billing when the upgrading works for a project are completed. Funding is needed for SERS projects to make fair compensation to the owners for the acquisition of their flats. There are also costs involved in demolishing vacated old blocks. The costs for 17 SERS sites announced from 2006 to 2012 was about S$2.7 billion (excluding demolition costs). Funding is also needed for the development of the replacement precinct, which comprises land and construction costs. These costs are defrayed by the sale proceeds of the new flats. Government funding for ROH plans is allocated to the various public agencies to drive and implement the respective ROH proposals under their purview. Rejuvenation of our Town Centres (TC) and Neighbourhood Centres (NC) for example is spearheaded by HDB. Under Batch 2 of the ROH programme, 3 TCs and 21 NCs were identified for rejuvenation and each TC and NC was allocated S$3m and S$2m respectively. All programmes under the ERS and as well as the ROH programme are massive and human-resource intensive. However, as most of the technical professionals are from HDB and the other relevant government agencies, the human resource costs are borne by the individual agencies themselves. In addition for each ROH launch which usually involves intensive public communication and consultation, HDB will provide the necessary budget which comes up to about S$1 billion per ROH batch of estates [see appended press article].

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Economic Stability As towns/estates are rejuvenated and upgraded, the overall living environment for residents is enhanced with new facilities and amenities. Residents’ housing assets appreciate and businesses thrive in a renewed and vibrant town centre. HDB towns become homes of choice for citizens and businesses. These contribute to economic stability and sustainability in the long run as the Government continues to sustain its upgrading and rejuvenation efforts. One good example is Clementi, an HDB town that has benefitted from SERS. Over the past 16 years, some 2,800 households have moved into their new SERS replacement flats. Today, HDB flats in Clementi are highly sought after. At the Town Centre is the new Clementi Mall, part of a mixed development project that brings together shopping, dining, and transport amenities, as well as the new HDB homes of many residents from former SERS blocks in the vicinity. The mixed development project has won international awards including the international FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award, in recognition of its exemplary design and benefits it brings to the community. Social Cohesiveness HDB towns are homes to the majority of the population. Residents form life-long attachments to the towns and estates that they grew up in, where they raised families, and where they formed strong friendships with their neighbours. Through the public housing programme, members of Singapore’s diverse society can share common experiences and forge a common identity. This is something the ERS has been able to support by allowing residents to continue living in the towns they have grown accustomed to, where they have forged strong community links, and where they feel a sense of belonging, increasing the sense of rootedness and pride among residents. The ERS is a sustainable living solution that allows residents to age-in-place in a comfortable, familiar, yet vibrant environment. Environmental Sustainability Programmes like SERS have allowed for the optimisation of land use to overcome the constraint of land scarcity. In addition, the ROH programme brings a more holistic planning approach to the transformation of older towns. With a greater range of facilities, like markets, shops, schools, recreational hubs, and community spaces provided, in addition to the integration of transportation networks, the ERS is a vital means of improving the self-sufficiency of the towns and convenience for the residents.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Programmes under the ERS are massive and wide-reaching, thus new programmes are usually launched with a demonstration phase to test concepts, refine strategies, and evaluate public response. As the ERS is heavily Government-funded, accountability is carefully assigned. Steering committees are usually helmed at Ministry level, at HDB level by the CEO/Deputy CEO, or by top management level of relevant government agencies. They keep track of the programme’s overall direction and provide guidance on policy issues and sensitive matters. At ground level, project/working committees are key drivers in monitoring and moving implementation forward by engaging residents with dialogue and feedback, resolving problems, and by keeping close tabs on the actual upgrading work. Public consultation occupies a central place in the implementation of the ERS and the views/feedback obtained before, during, and after a project is launched and completed, provides valuable input in evaluating the programmes and determining the shape and form of subsequent projects. Upgrading Projects Upgrading projects like HIP are essentially HDB-run. This makes it easier to coordinate work areas, monitor results and evaluate processes as internal communication lines are accessible and convenient. HDB’s Deputy CEO (Building) takes the lead in overseeing implementation and regular meetings among the various internal stakeholders keep upgrading projects on track. As residents’ feedback and support for upgrading is central in monitoring the programme’s implementation and success, HDB also helps drive meetings at the ground level, coordinating Working Committee meetings with residents, Advisers, town councils and other stakeholders. SERS Projects Due to the sensitive nature of SERS, dedicated teams of HDB staff are formed early in the process to attend to feedback and residents’ concerns. Interactions are personalised and face-to-face. HDB ‘handholds’ residents throughout the SERS process, which could take 5 to 6 years, to ensure that the transition is smooth and to monitor closely any problems which can then be quickly resolved. In addition to ad-hoc surveying of residents currently going through the process, HDB also conducts biennial surveys on residents who have completed the SERS journey to obtain feedback for policy review and service improvement. ROH Projects Inter-agency ROH Steering Committees and Task Forces steer the programmes and monitor progress of the various projects. Regular meetings ensure the scope of work is properly defined to achieve the objectives set. ROH projects also attract strong media interest and through this platform HDB is able to gauge public response and sentiment to the various proposals.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Underlying ERS is the aim to minimise inconvenience to residents while completing the various projects in the shortest time possible, especially for upgrading which takes place without moving residents out of their homes. Work inside homes must be completed within 10 days with the provision of portable bathrooms/toilets, and air-conditioned common areas for rest/study to keep things comfortable for residents. Prefabrication and dry construction methods minimise dust, noise and other inconveniences to residents during upgrading. For example, prefabrication of steel shafts off-site allows for on-site erection in just a day or two, reducing pollution and shortening the construction period. Indeed, people management is the ERS’s biggest challenge. With residents living in their homes amidst improvement works, daily activities become a source of irritation and unhappiness. Site staff are trained to be accommodating and flexible to residents’ requests and personal schedules, with a public relations office on site to manage residents’ feedback and queries. Managing residents sensitively is crucial with SERS projects because it involves involuntary displacement of residents whose homes are compulsorily acquired under the Land Acquisition Act. Residents are apprehensive and anxious about moving from familiar surroundings and concerned about the financial implications of buying new flats. Understanding the emotions involved, steps are taken early to reach out to residents. House visits are particularly important in the process as staff take special care to communicate personally in different languages and dialects, using visuals and graphics to explain the rehousing benefits and packages. As ROH proposals comprise multi-agency efforts, clarity of issues and coordination among implementing agencies are important. Funding, ownership and maintenance issues have to be sorted out upfront. This is where good inter-agency networking, relationship-building and cooperation come into play. With all sharing the common objective of rejuvenating the towns, ROH plans are able to proceed smoothly.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The single greatest benefit of the ERS is also the most visible ie its impact on the nation’s social landscape and Singapore’s skyline. Singapore’s public housing programme is almost 55 years old. Yet its older towns and estates have not suffered the fate of public housing in some countries where neglect and outflow of residents have led to the deterioration of these estates into slums and ghettoes. On the contrary, mature HDB towns are in fact in high demand among flat buyers as a result of the ERS and its single-minded focus on keeping older HDB living environments on par with new estates. Testament of this success can be seen in the public application for flats in older HDB towns today, where the application rate is much higher at 5.7 times, compared to 2.8 times for flats in new HDB towns. With the resulting vibrancy of redeveloped HDB towns, the ERS has indeed been able to draw back the energy and buzz of a younger residency to these towns. Supported by family-friendly policies that encourage young couples to buy flats near their parents, HDB’s older towns display a healthy resident profile with a good mix and integration of different generations, thus arresting the formation of ‘silver’ towns. Intensifying the land use under redevelopment has had a strong impact on Singapore’s skyline and on boosting the unique identities of HDB’s older towns. The high-density high-rise approach to building new homes in older towns saw the birth of Singapore’s most iconic public housing development – The Pinnacle@Duxton. Built within Singapore’s oldest estate, Tanjong Pagar, the 50-storey development has won numerous local and international awards like the Urban Land Institute’ Global Awards for Excellence. Toa Payoh, one of Singapore’s first public housing satellite towns, is perhaps the best example of how the ERS has wrought epic transformations. Developed in the 1960s, Toa Payoh was selected for the demonstration phase of the Main Upgrading Programme in 1989. Since then various ERS programmes have made this town one of the most sought-after by home buyers. New 40-storey blocks built under the SERS programme brighten up the town’s skyline at night with their lit-up water-tank towers, adding to the buzzing night-life feel of the town centre and easily rivalling the private residential developments within the town. There is no doubt that the ERS has hit home in meeting the needs of HDB residents. SERS in particular, has proven to be one of the most popular programmes under the ERS, due in no small part to HDB’s careful attention to detail, sensitive handling of issues, and thorough guidance of residents through the process. According to a survey conducted in 2012 with SERS households who had moved to their new replacement flats, an overwhelming 97% appreciated that SERS had provided them with a brand new living environment. Satisfaction with family life remained high, and 99% agreed that they felt a sense of belonging to their estates. 68% felt the same closeness or were closer to their neighbours after SERS. This continuous renewal and rejuvenation of older HDB towns and estates have helped Singaporeans believe in the continuity and value of their HDB homes. More importantly the ERS has been integral in strengthening that common point of emotional reference for most Singaporeans which is HDB living. This ‘HDB Experience’ bonds Singaporeans, creating a shared experience among all races and from all walks of life. By working together and coming to common decisions to shape their living environment, opportunities are provided for residents to interact, foster ethnic integration, and improve social cohesion. In less than 30 years, the ERS has enhanced public housing in Singapore by leaps and bounds. Today more than 80% of the population continues to call HDB flats home. Singapore has seen an unprecedented rate and scale of urbanisation. The Singapore skyline has been completely transformed, accompanied by a redistribution of population and demographic restructuring, and a significant improvement in the living conditions of its citizens.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Sustainability The ERS is a long-term strategy to ensure the continued viability and vibrancy of HDB towns. It is important that the ERS programmes remain relevant and responsive to changes by involving the various stakeholders and residents in the shaping of the estates and to stay tuned to their needs and aspirations. Programmes like HIP and NRP continue to be implemented based on majority support from residents as the upgrading works, inconvenience and cost (though highly subsidised by the Government) are extensive. The co-sharing of cost and engagement practices promote greater ownership among residents and the programmes continue to be popular among residents. In terms of relevancy, HDB continually explores new concepts to refine the various upgrading options for residents. For example, NRP was introduced in 2007 as a result of feedback from residents for more involvement in estate upgrading through forums and dialogues. Areas of focus for renewal and rejuvenation are adopted in line with changing demographics and life-cycle housing needs of the population. Cost of construction is also managed as HDB continuously researches and adopts sustainable construction methods by tapping on technology and innovation. As Singapore continues its economic growth, some State budget will always be put aside to fund renewal programmes. Transferability As the sole public housing authority and largest housing developer in Singapore, HDB plays a leading role in the housing and construction industry. As HDB develops new housing and new towns alongside rejuvenating older ones, technological and construction breakthroughs are refined, adapted and replicated across projects. The construction industry as a whole benefits from HDB’s R&D efforts as HDB takes the lead in sharing and partnering the private sector to take the construction industry to higher levels. To recognise the efforts of its industry partners, HDB presents awards annually to architectural firms and building contractors for their efforts in creating outstanding public housing homes for Singaporeans. In conjunction with the awards, HDB organises a yearly forum that provides a platform for learning and sharing among the building professionals in Singapore. HDB’s public housing programmes and initiatives are in fact recognised world over and HDB receives an average of about 6000 visitors each year since 1999, interested in learning more about how the organisation consistently provides quality living environments for more than 80% of the population. Some of our programmes have generated much interest overseas, eg. In July 2013 HDB presented a paper on SERS at the 2nd Annual Urban Renewal Conference in Kuala Lumpur followed by a visit from the Land Custody and Development Authority of Sarawak to HDB in September 2013. The delegation was interested in HDB’s community engagement and resident buy-in efforts. Locally, Singapore Land Authority takes into account the attributes of the SERS programme, like the rehousing benefits and work process, in reviewing its work on the acquisition of private properties under the Land Acquisition Act.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Since HDB began upgrading its older towns and estates in the 1980s, the living environment of more than 700,000 flats have been greatly improved, and much has been learned over the last 25 years of HDB’s rejuvenation efforts. The ERS has achieved much in improving HDB homes and preserving their value. But with some 314,475 flats entering the 40-50 year old age band within the next 10 years, and Singapore’s population expected to grow by 27% to 6.9 million in the next 15 years, greater emphasis needs to be placed on rejuvenating our housing estates. While upgrading will continue to play a key role, HDB needs to consider its cost-effectiveness against demolishing these flats and redeveloping the area which would maximise land use and yield higher benefits for the towns. Undoubtedly the ERS will still be necessary but the shape and form of individual programmes may change in line with needs and aspirations. Programmes like MUP highlighted residents’ desire for more involvement in the upgrading of their living environments and the importance of engaging them, and obtaining their support. Early upgrading programmes thus evolved into HIP and NRP to offer residents more say and flexibility in shaping their homes. With increasing population diversity and a more vocal citizenry, HDB will face greater challenges in building community spirit to drive its programmes and convince residents of long-term benefits that would result from short-term inconveniences as we try to minimise them. To secure stronger public buy-in, there needs to be greater emphasis on customer engagement and stakeholder consultation. For example, beyond the existing transactional approach to delivering service, HDB could focus on giving customers a ‘relational’ experience. R&D is critical to finding productive and cost effective ways to carry out the ERS. Innovative construction methods and good project management allowed flats to be upgraded quickly, with minimal inconvenience to residents. HDB’s R&D efforts brought lift upgrading to blocks where LUP was previously not feasible, and the Selective Lift Replacement Programme (SLRP) birthed innovative solutions including energy-efficient motors, infra-red doors, and more. Besides building higher and exploring underground options, HDB could harness technology to intensify land use and enhance liveability in its towns. Apart from strengthening technical capabilities, HDB could leverage on technology to enhance design and construction, as well as to analyse data and engage stakeholders. The ERS has shown that an elder-friendly environment is not just desirable, it is necessary in Singapore’s greying population. We expect our seniors aged 65 to triple to 900,000 by 2030. More of them will remain active and may prefer to live by themselves. Therefore, we have to re-examine housing options currently available to them and develop an estate renewal strategy that can cater for those who are mobile and prefer to be independent. At the same time, it is important to keep them rooted in a familiar environment so that they can stay close to family and friends, and keep their ties with their community.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Housing & Development Board
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Tze Ying Wong
Title:   Director, Organisational Excellence Department, Co  
Telephone/ Fax:   +65 6490 1080
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   HDB Hub, 480 Toa Payoh Lor 6, Singapore
Postal Code:   310480
City:   Singapore
State/Province:   Singapore

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