Bring life back to void decks

With more than 80 per cent of Singapore's population living in HDB estates, common spaces such as void decks hold immense potential for fostering understanding between disparate groups of people and for the formation of community identity.

Many Singaporeans will remember the time spent playing "catching" or sports at the void decks while growing up.

These spaces also serve important functions for many families, who hold weddings or wakes at these places.

Yet, with the advent of social media and reduced time spent in our neighbourhoods, these common spaces are not being utilised as much.

If we still see the value in having void decks, there has to be a shift in attitude regarding our common spaces at the state, community and individual level.

At the state level, are we able to reconceptualise the design of void decks and invest more resources to boost their functionality?

This could involve incorporating games into the amenities we place at void decks, while making the space more aesthetically pleasing.

At the community level, will we be willing to organise block parties at void decks and encourage children to play there and mingle with other children as well?

At the individual level, are we able to spend more time lingering at the void decks, instead of heading straight to the lift?

As the world becomes increasingly divisive, common spaces that have often been overlooked become more valuable and necessary in bridging our divides.

Yong Chang Jun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'Bring life back to void decks'. Print Edition | Subscribe