Singapore / Historical Documents: HDB Precincts & Block Design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.