Forum: Mixed housing estates will yield benefits for all

I fully endorse the Government's push for greater inclusivity by having Housing Board flats in private estates, and hope that it will include areas like Marina East and Turf City (Public housing in Marina South precinct likely, say analysts, June 9).

A good mix of 70 per cent private and 30 per cent public housing as a concept plan will be good for long-term social and economic planning and sharing of common resources.

First, this ratio allows the Government to realise at least 70 per cent of the prevailing market value of the land through government land sales for private developments.

We can maximise future infrastructure developments to mitigate climate change too, such as green lungs or parks, and water catchment features.

Second, it can help to even out the distribution of income and age groups in the estate.

Traditionally, it is the younger families who are first-time HDB owners, resulting in a higher concentration of this age group in an estate.

As they become more established, they may upgrade to private property within the same estate, and there would still be interactions between the groups and elitist social enclaves would not be formed.

Third, it is crucial for estates to have available essential services and medical and social support services.

During the Covid-19 restrictions, areas including Shenton Way, Marina Bay Financial Centre and Changi Business Hub were like ghost towns, lacking any social or business activities.

In contrast, HDB town centres with shops, wet markets, food centres, clinics, supermarkets, bakeries and cafes continued to function and be patronised by residents. The impact of the curbs was lessened for all involved.

Therefore, a good mix of public and private housing, combined with commercial developments and public amenities, is needed to cater to the needs of Singaporeans.

Sum Kam Weng

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