SINGAPORE: Residents of future public housing can look forward to more greenery, facilities to promote physical and social wellbeing, as well as smart infrastructure in their homes.
This is part of the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) new roadmap for designing towns over the next decade.
Speaking at the launch of the Designing for Life roadmap on Thursday (Oct 15), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat noted the importance of providing quality homes and living environments for Singaporeans.
“As Singaporeans’ lifestyles and aspirations evolve, we must continue to provide a home and quality living environment for Singaporeans at every stage of their lives,” he said.
The roadmap addresses new challenges including an ageing population, climate change, evolving social aspirations and residents’ desire to be more involved in shaping their living environment, said HDB.
Future plans will be guided by three pillars - live well, live smart and live connected – that form the backbone of the refreshed roadmap.
PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, MENTAL WELLBEING
A key aim of the “live well” pillar is to encourage active lifestyles.
“For example, staircases, which are often seen as functional structures, will be designed attractively to nudge residents to use the stairs daily, or incorporate stair-climbing as part of their exercise routine,” said HDB.
To build a more inclusive environment, directional signs will have pictorial symbols and larger font sizes.
For older residents, there will be dementia-friendly features like looped paths in parks to help them navigate, as well as coloured grab bars in homes to improve indoor safety.
HDB said it will continue to include community spaces for residents to mingle and bond.
Bigger spaces like large covered town squares will be able to host mass events, while smaller spaces like linkways can serve as spaces for community interaction, it added.
Neighbourhood centres will be conceptualised as social and wellness hubs. They will include play parks for children, community spaces, exercise facilities and eateries. Where feasible, there will be healthcare facilities as well, said HDB.
Roof gardens, ground-level precinct and pocket gardens will be the norm.
“These green spaces will enable residents to enjoy a quiet moment and experience the restorative benefits of nature,” said HDB.
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Some of these features have already been incorporated in plans for new housing estates such as Tengah.
These urban design strategies will also apply to precincts undergoing the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.
There will be a greater use of technology at various levels to improve the living environment.
In estate management, sensors can help to issue alerts when maintenance is required, while common areas could have smart lighting that adjusts lighting levels based on human traffic patterns, said HDB.
In the home, some flats in Punggol Northshore have infrastructure like smart sockets and smart distribution boards which monitor energy consumption and support the adoption of compatible smart home solutions.
Punggol Northshore, which will be completed later this year, is the first district with smart and sustainable initiatives, noted Mr Heng.
HDB said it is looking to implement these initiatives beyond Punggol.
To address climate change, HDB noted that the 10-year Green Towns Programme was introduced earlier this year. It seeks to improve residents’ quality of life by implementing green features in three areas - reducing energy consumption, recycling rainwater and cooling HDB towns.
RESIDENTS HELPING TO SHAPE PUBLIC SPACES
HDB said it will continue to engage residents to better understand their needs and aspirations. This comes under the third pillar of the new roadmap.
“Beyond building houses and towns, HDB aims to build homes and communities, where people bond with one another, live together and grow together,” said Mr Heng.
Residents in new developments will have common spaces they can collectively design and build, and those in four existing towns - Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Choa Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio - can participate in focus group discussions to get involved in rejuvenating their towns.
An initiative called the Lively Places Challenge will be rolled out to all HDB towns by 2024. Residents can form teams to develop and implement solutions, and get funding and training to support their effort.
“Through careful planning backed by science and data, we will advance the sustainability of our towns, and leverage technology to help residents live more comfortably, with greater convenience,” said HDB CEO Cheong Koon Hean.
“We will also find more ways for people to connect with each other and empower them to play a bigger role in designing and activating their shared spaces.”