Future of HDB living will be smart, sustainable and keep pace with ageing population: DPM Heng

An upcoming housing development that will showcase the features and initiatives under the new HDB roadmap is Parc Residences @ Tengah. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - The future of Housing Board (HDB) living will see smart fittings that give home owners the option of monitoring their energy consumption and controlling smart appliances, and also directional signages with larger fonts and pictorial symbols.

This is to ensure that smart and sustainable living will keep pace with Singapore's ageing population, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

He added that a people-centric approach that anticipates the physical, social and mental well-being of residents is core to HDB's plan for improving the living environment, even as it realises Singapore's vision of becoming a smart nation.

In an HDB webinar on Thursday (Oct 15), DPM Heng laid out a new blueprint that will guide the designing and planning of HDB towns and flats for the next decade or so, in both new public housing developments and existing towns.

Called "Designing for Life", the new HDB roadmap is anchored by three pillars: Live Well, which enhances the health and well-being of residents through the built environment; Live Smart, which incorporates smart and sustainable technologies; and Live Connected, which focuses on community participation in the shaping of public spaces.

DPM Heng said the roadmap is timely, as the Covid-19 pandemic has made Singaporeans view their home in a new light as more people work from home.

"For many, home has become a sanctuary from the pandemic. For some, home is increasingly a space for work. For all, home is where we bond with our loved ones," said DPM Heng.

The previous roadmap was introduced in 2011 and implemented in towns such as Punggol and Bidadari.

An upcoming housing development that will showcase the features and initiatives under the new roadmap is Parc Residences @ Tengah, a Build-To-Order (BTO) project in Tengah launched in August this year.

A yet-to-be-named adjacent BTO project, which will be launched at a later date, will share the amenities.

Both are located in Park district, one of five housing districts in the "forest town" of Tengah.

Together, both developments will comprise about 2,200 flats ranging from two-room flexi flats to five-room flats.

These flats will be integrated with childcare centres, a Residents' Committee centre and a sizeable neighbourhood centre with a supermarket, food court and commercial schools.

The nearby neighbourhood centre will be integrated with a polyclinic for easy access to care facilities for both the young and old.

It will also feature a prominent staircase which opens up directly into green community spaces on each floor to encourage residents to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Parking decks of the multi-storey carparks in Parc Residences @ Tengah will be elevated to free up ground level spaces for community activities and playgrounds.

In the adjacent housing development, the roof of the multi-storey carpark will have a "sky sports park", with fitness equipment next to a 300m running circuit and a 100m sprint track.

Integrated developments such as Kampung Admiralty in Woodlands and Oasis Terraces in Punggol will be more common, said DPM Heng.

For instance, the Bedok South Horizon BTO project will be integrated with the Siglap Community Centre and care facilities for seniors. It will be ready next year.

To nurture a kampung spirit, HDB will seek residents' suggestions to design and build their preferred shared spaces such as void decks. HDB said it will pilot this next year in selected BTO projects in Tampines and Dawson.

Smart technologies will also feature in new flats in Tengah.

Home owners can subscribe to an energy-efficient centralised cooling system and monitor their usage via an app, potentially saving up 30 per cent in life cycle costs.

Up to 10 per cent of carpark lots will feature electric vehicle (EV) ready infrastructure for residents with electric vehicles. The electric load needed by the EV charging is supplemented by the solar energy collected via the solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of nearby blocks.

Existing towns are not left out either.

Four towns - Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Choa Chua Kang and Ang Mo Kio - will be rejuvenated under HDB's Remaking Our Heartland initiative, on top of those that are already in the process of being refreshed.

Green features will be rolled out to existing towns under a 10-year HDB Green Towns programme, which aims to make every town in Singapore more sustainable and liveable by 2030. These features include solar panels and smart LED lighting in common areas that dims when there is little human traffic.

On Thursday, HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean said one of HDB's key focal areas in driving the national sustainable development efforts is solar energy.

"By 2030, when HDB turns 70, we can expect to see 70 per cent of all HDB blocks fitted with or identified for solar installation," said Dr Cheong.

Since it was set up 60 years ago, HDB has built over a million flats in some 10,000 blocks islandwide.

Today, eight in 10 Singaporeans live in HDB flats, of which 90 per cent own the home they live in.

Dr Cheong noted that HDB's work is an "ongoing, iterative process" even as it enters its seventh decade of building homes for Singaporeans.

"Over the past decade, we have ushered in a new generation of public housing, with significant shifts towards well-designed, sustainable and community-centric towns that harness both the power of nature and smart technologies," she said.

"We remain steadfast in our mission and will continue to innovate, and implement fresh and bold ideas for the future of HDB living."

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