Singapore / Historical Documents: HDB Precincts & Block Design

When the Housing and Development Board (HDB) took over the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) as the sole public housing planner, designer and builder, they adopted the precinct concept in 1978. The precincts are clusters of public housing blocks arranged as a single unit. (usually an average of 10 blocks per precinct) The concept is based on its understanding that social interaction and community bonding can be optimised in a smaller planning unit compared to a full neighbourhood. In addition, precincts are expected to evoke a stronger sense of security, although they are not physically fenced, and do not restrict movements for residents or outsiders in any physical way.

The block designs also  addresses some basic constraints in Singapore, such as land shortage, an expanding population and reasonable prices. The large-scale development of high-rise, high-density, low-cost, standardized constructions is the most logical solution. Hence, the HDB flats are typically very functional, simple in shape and plan. It is almost of a Brutalist style, in contrast to SIT’s Art deco styled flats.


1 Comment on “Singapore / Historical Documents: HDB Precincts & Block Design

  1. It is interesting to know that the public housing planner had a concept of enhancing social interaction during the planning, but not solely focusing on the economic problems in building large scale housing project. This perhaps was because of the political structure of Singapore which gives people’s right to have a better place to live. And it was a great contrast compared to most of the Asian city where government’s money put first and people’s favor put last.

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