HDB pumps in $10.7m for research, including a study on 'urban kampungs'

The community herb garden in a neighbourhood centre in Bukit Batok Street 11.
The community herb garden in a neighbourhood centre in Bukit Batok Street 11. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - The Housing Board has signed two new agreements with research institutions to explore ways to boost construction productivity, as well as to strengthen community networks in flats.

In total, the Government is pumping in $10.7 million into two research studies.

One is a $6 million agreement with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to study the "new urban kampung".

Speaking at the opening of the International Housing Forum on Thursday (Sept 7), Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said the HDB is looking at how to better design common spaces in housing estates to encourage more social interaction.

"That's really what we are trying to achieve: to have better flat designs that bring people together and strengthen the kampung spirit in our high-rise HDB apartments," he said.

To that end, HDB and SUTD will use data analytics to study how HDB towns evolve, as well as residents' behaviour and responses to their living environment.

"This will help us better understand our residents and the community, so that we can adjust our housing designs in tandem with the changing needs and aspirations of our residents," he said.


There is also a $4.7 million collaboration with Nanyang Technological University to develop a Smart Integrated Construction System. Through the use of smart sensors and automation, it aims at transforming traditional construction work processes and boosting productivity in a sector heavily reliant on foreign manpower.

One of the features is a central digital dataspace where those in the construction supply chain can log in real time information and progress updates on a project from various locations. The HDB said in a statement:  "This streamlines information and speeds up data-sharing amongst the different partners, including architects, contractors, pre-casters and construction material suppliers, enabling them to better keep track of budgets and timelines."

The system will also have a smart tracking system to virtually manage the logistics of construction inventory as materials are transported from various suppliers to a construction site. Smart sensors with geo-tagging capabilities will be attached to building components to help contractors manage the flow of construction materials to a work site, and correct lapses such as wrong deliveries.

The plan is to also develop an automated crane system with sensors to calculate the quickest and safest hoisting path for construction units, especially as the HDB adopts more complex pre-fabricated methods.

"This will minimise disruptions to the construction process and enable it to progress smoothly," HDB said.