In Singapore’s vision of a ‘Smart Nation’, information and communications technology (ICT) drive future changes for the betterment of citizens. It is one that HDB is deeply plugged into.

While swift to adopt smart and sustainable technologies and solutions, HDB’s approach remains people-centric. When the HDB Sales Atrium at the HDB Hub was revamped in the FY, the aim was to uplift the whole customer service experience, one where people, process, and technology create a seamless accord.

Home and Affordability

As with the Atrium renewal, this inclusive approach was also evident in the plans, policies and programmes implemented in the FY.

In the FY, HDB’s 3 Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercises added more than 15,000 flats. Spread over 19 projects across mature and non-mature towns, these new additions comprising a range of flat types, helped to fulfil home ownership aspirations among new flat buyers.

To ensure better affordability, policies implemented included the income ceiling and grant amount raise for citizen households so that more could qualify for the Special CPF Housing Grant. For those looking to buy new or resale HDB flats with the CPF Housing Grant, the income ceiling was raised from $10,000 to $12,000.

HDB also implemented the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) to encourage families to live closer together. The grant of $20,000 is given to Singaporean families who buy a resale flat to live with or near (in the same town/ estate or within 2km) their parents’ or married child’s home. Even eligible singles can benefit with a $10,000 grant, if they buy a resale flat with their parents.

Other policies to encourage home ownership included the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, aimed at enabling second-timer public rental households with young children to buy 2-room flats with shorter leases. It was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally 2015.

Smart and Sustainable

Projects launched for sale this FY in Punggol Northshore would be the first of many to test bed Smart technologies applied to estate planning and car parks, lighting and waste management.

In existing towns, the HDB Greenprint was completed in Yuhua in late 2015. The project rolled out green technology upgrades in the mature town, including amenities like solar panels, sensor-controlled LED lightings, and an automated waste collection system. Smart technologies were also tested in selected households in Yuhua, and under the HDB Smart Enabled Home Initiative, several homes trialled applications related to elderly home care and utilities management.

Heartland and Community

HDB’s estate renewal programme – Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) saw the completion of 2 new-generation housing projects, SkyVille@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson. Planned to revitalise Dawson under the first batch of towns slated for ROH, they were designed to encourage multi-generational and green living, with innovative features to attract a more vibrant mix of residents to the estate.

Moving on, 3 other heartland towns under ROH, embraced a ground-up approach to refine the upgrading proposals. The feedback sessions for Woodlands, Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris attracted wide interest, engaging over 400 participants from various stakeholder groups, including residents of the towns.

Active community involvement among residents remained a top priority, fostered through a concerted programme of activities. The Community Building Seminar (CBS) & Build-a-thon challenge, prompted participants to discover the interrelationships between people and place in community building. One of the resulting ideas was the ‘Walls of Inspiration’ activity in Siglap East, with some 250 residents giving their void deck walls a makeover.

Under the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, the BOND! Project at Tampines Changkat, engaged residents to share about the kind of social amenities and community programmes they would like in their neighbourhood. Some 498 households took active interest in shaping their community.

Future Forward

HDB’s commitment to ensuring that Singaporeans have vibrant homes and towns, also includes an assurance to conserve its green footfall. The announcement of Tengah Town, a brand new town to be developed, has stirred up a lot of interest and excitement. Envisioned to be a forest town, it will be fully integrated with the surrounding ecosystems and exemplifies the future shape and form of HDB towns – smart, sustainable and green.

This, and the achievements of the past years, could not have been accomplished without a strong sense of purpose and conviction, and the dedication of the members of the HDB Board, management and staff. I would like to thank all of you for your continued support in making this organisation an outstanding one, and HDB towns a home all are proud of.

Mr James Koh Cher Siang