Home ownership is a hallmark of the Singapore story. Home to over 80% of the population, HDB flats occupy a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans. It is in these homes that childhood memories are formed, families are built, and silver years meaningfully spent.
Quality Homes for All
With HDB living being such an integral part of the Singapore story, providing affordable, quality homes for Singaporeans is an ongoing, ever-evolving mission for HDB.
This Financial Year (FY), HDB continued to put in place policies and measures to ensure that public housing remained within reach of Singaporeans. With an eye on the longer-term demographic and population trends, HDB carefully calibrated its building programme to provide a stable supply of new flats to meet new needs. We introduced a new sales mode – the Re-Offer of Balance Flats, and will be offering the first batch of Build-To-Order (BTO) with shorter waiting time in the second half of 2018. With the wider range of options, and more regular offer of flats, home buyers will be able to find a home that best suits their needs.
The Proximity Housing Grant was enhanced to benefit more extended Singaporean families who wish to live with or near their parents or children for mutual care and support. Families navigating changing life circumstances also benefited from the review of policies. Divorced couples and second-timer rental families with young children can now buy a new flat earlier.
From Punggol to Woodlands, Tengah to Toa Payoh, plans are afoot to create vibrant and highly liveable environments in new and existing towns that leverage smart and sustainable technologies. To guide the comprehensive implementation of smart solutions in Punggol and Tengah, a Smart Urban Habitat (SUH) Masterplan has been drawn up. A Smart Hub has been developed to enable real-time monitoring and analysis of an estate’s services, from solar panels to water and electrical sub-meters, to identify potential maintenance issues so we can work towards addressing them early for a comfortable living environment for residents. We are piloting the use of this platform starting with Yuhua.
Leveraging big data and advanced modelling tools, HDB has also embarked on a New Urban Kampung research programme to gain better insights into our residents’ changing needs and living habits. This will help us improve the design of our estates so that they continue to serve the interests of our residents and heartland community.
Under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme, the renewal plans for Pasir Ris, Toa Payoh and Woodlands continued to take shape. In our drive to empower residents in owning and co-creating their shared environments, we took a ground-up approach, with residents from the 3 towns invited to share their views and suggestions from the early stages of planning. With the views gathered, HDB proceeded to finalise the proposals for each town and exhibited them during the FY.
The year also saw the completion of Kampung Admiralty, the first-of-its-kind development that integrates public housing with social, healthcare, medical and lifestyle amenities to meet the needs of our senior residents. This project is the result of a Whole-Of-Government approach, led by HDB, towards helping seniors age-in-place, and live active and healthy lives.
Beyond being just a provider of homes, HDB’s mission is also to build active and cohesive communities. Various outreach and engagement programmes were organised to strengthen community ties and encourage gracious heartland living. Among the initiatives launched during the FY is the Friends of Our Heartlands (FOH) programme – a model developed by HDB to collaborate with community partners in activating community spaces such as town and community plazas. Engagement of residents in shaping and activating the social places has enhanced their sense of belonging, neighbourly ties as in the case of Build-A-Playground pilot initiative at the Canberra Division.
Customers at the Heart
In all that we do, HDB is always mindful of the need to be true to our mission of serving all Singaporeans. This is in line with the vision to deliver a seamless customer experience and become a trusted public service with citizens at the centre. Along with enhancements to our policies, our processes have also been streamlined to provide a seamless customer experience for our residents.
With an increasingly well-connected and mobile population, customers are expecting to transact at their convenience. Responding to this trend, HDB introduced the HDB Resale Portal, an online portal which has effectively halved the resale transaction time to 8 weeks, making buying and selling a flat easier and faster than ever before.
Complementing the ongoing rollout of the Electronic Parking System (EPS), HDB has also introduced the Parking.sg app, a collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Government Technology Agency in areas where EPS is not available due to site constraints. Payment can now be done remotely using mobile phones, doing away with the need to tear paper coupons.
The Road Ahead
HDB has come a long way in our public housing journey, winning numerous international and local awards and accolades along the way. The future holds many challenges, with the rapidly changing urban and social landscapes, a fast ageing population, and game-changing technology revolutionising the way we work, live and play. To navigate these challenges, building a responsive, resilient and future-ready workforce is key.
In this regard, as part of HDB’s continued digitalisation journey, we have made our digitalisation roadmap even clearer with the formulation of a Digital Master Plan in 2016. Work groups were formed to drive the digital transformation in all aspects of HDB’s work, from town planning to the delivery of customer service and maintenance of estates.
Going forward, I am confident that these efforts, along with the organisational capabilities we have built over the years, will spur us to reimagine and reinvent public housing in our mission to build endearing homes, towns and communities.
On this note, I would like to thank the HDB Board members, Management and staff for their dedication and support. Because they have set high standards, HDB is able to deliver homes that Singaporeans are proud to call their own.