The UN-Habitat Housing Practices Series is an ongoing publication developed and produced by UN-Habitat in partnership with academic institutions and National Governments. It provides reliable and independent documentation of innovative and large-scale affordable housing programmes in countries around the world.
This volume presents the Singapore model of public housing, which is unique among countries with public housing systems in terms of both the proportion of residents living in public housing; and of its focus on home ownership of public housing flats. Today, more than 80% of Singapore’s residents live in housing provided by the Housing Development Board (HDB). The volume highlights tangible, evidence-based measures implemented by the HDB in addressing housing unaffordability since the 1960s, as well as its shift from understanding public housing as shelter for resettled families and the poor, to universal provision. Since 1961, in fact, HDB completed more than 1 million housing units. Furthermore, the unit production was complemented by a comprehensive and integrated planning to create a self-sufficient environment conducive for residents to live, work, play and learn - making housing the centre of a social welfare infrastructure.
This shift to universal provision has also given Singapore the opportunity to solve social and political issues (eg. ethnic integration and community building) by tackling them through public housing.
Furthermore, the recent focus on upgrading the existing housing supply is based on principles of engagement, scale, and market research, and can be an example for housing authorities that similarly seek to enhance the physical environment of their residential neighbourhoods as well as apartments within housing blocks.
This publication is intended for policy makers, public sector officials and urban practitioners. Accordingly, it aims to outline the design and effect of programmes on the multiple dimensions of housing (housing needs and demands, land, finance, infrastructure, the construction sector, among others).