Future of HDB living will be smart and sustainable: DPM

It will see new fittings that keep pace with Singapore's ageing population: Heng

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

The future of Housing Board (HDB) living will see smart fittings that give home owners the option of not only monitoring energy consumption and controlling smart appliances, but also directional signage with larger fonts and pictorial symbols.

This is to ensure 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 a HDB webinar yesterday, Mr Heng laid out a new blueprint that will guide the 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.

Mr Heng said the roadmap is timely, as the Covid-19 pandemic has made Singaporeans view their home in a new light.

"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," he said.

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 under the new roadmap is Parc Residences @ Tengah, a Build-To-Order (BTO) project launched in August.

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.

The 2,200 flats in both developments will be integrated with childcare centres, a Residents' Committee centre and other facilities.

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

Integrated developments such as Kampung Admiralty in Woodlands and Oasis Terraces in Punggol will be more common, said Mr 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 to 30 per cent in life cycle costs.

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

Green features including solar panels 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.

HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean said one of HDB's key focal areas in driving national sustainable development efforts is solar energy, with 70 per cent of all HDB blocks fitted with or identified for solar installation y 2030.

"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.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2020, with the headline Future of HDB living will be smart and sustainable: DPM. Subscribe