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Housing a smart nation
SINCE it was established in 1960, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) has housed generations of Singaporeans, having built homes for over a million households. The success of its work over the years has been driven by the roles it undertakes as developer and master planner; a builder of homes and communities; and an innovator of new technologies.
HDB has leveraged the Business Excellence (BE) framework for the past 20 years to help it deliver superior performance in these three key areas. The framework offers the organisation an objective and holistic way to benchmark itself against the best-in-class for organisational excellence, as well as helps to align its strategies, processes and management systems.
HDB was the first public sector organisation to win the Singapore Quality Award in 1997. Subsequently, in 2008, it won the award with Special Commendation, which recognises past award winners for achieving even higher levels of excellence.
Since winning that honour, HDB has applied fresh design ideas and concepts to create a new generation of public housing, while ensuring that existing estates and flats remain vibrant through various upgrading programmes.
HDB won the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation for a second time this year. In the decade since it last won the award, the organisation has formulated masterplans for towns and estates such as Punggol, Bidadari and Tengah.
"To many, living in a HDB estate is part of the Singaporean life experience. All of us at HDB want to give our best to provide our residents with affordable quality homes which are also sustainable and smart, and to strengthen their sense of community. We have been working hard this last decade to benchmark ourselves to best-in-class practices and to align our processes and systems to meet our residents' needs. Winning the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation has validated many of the improvements we have put in place," said HDB CEO Cheong Koon Hean.
DEVELOPER AND BUILDER
As the largest master planner and housing developer in Singapore, HDB plays an important role in providing affordable flats and a quality living environment for Singaporeans. In the planning and design of new housing areas, it capitalises on their individual distinctive character to bring about a unique identity for each estate. For instance, HDB's 24th and newest town, Tengah, will be Singapore's first 'Forest Town', fully integrated with its natural surrounding environment.
Through constant innovation, HDB has applied new design concepts to housing projects launched in the last decade, including SkyVille @ Dawson and SkyTerrace @ Dawson. These new developments incorporate abundant elevated green communal spaces such as roof gardens and sky terraces for residents to enjoy, and to encourage community bonding.
As for interiors, HDB's Home Improvement Programme (HIP) addresses common maintenance issues within the flats. Given Singapore's ageing population, the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, which is offered with HIP, aims to help make homes more elderly-friendly. Over 240,000 flats have been announced for HIP in the last decade. Of these, upgrading works have been completed for over half, or 122,000 flats, with works underway for the remaining ones.
To promote greater community interaction, new housing precinct designs have incorporated more spaces to encourage residents to come together and mingle, through generous provision of open spaces and parks. This includes community living rooms located on the ground floor of HDB blocks that are equipped with seating areas to encourage residents to converse.
A CULTURE OF INNOVATION
HDB harnesses technological improvements to build sustainable and smart towns. For example, the organisation is the industry leader in Singapore in the adoption of solar panels. The SolarNova Programme was developed in 2014 to accelerate the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore.
HDB also carries out research and development to create and test new designs, as well as technologies to improve environment quality and make the construction process more efficient. The organisation's innovations include environmental modelling techniques, renewable energy, water and waste management, high-quality precast construction, floating wetlands system, new methods of reclamation and smart applications.
Dr Cheong noted that new home buyers can look forward to refreshing housing concepts, while residents in existing estates can expect their homes to be rejuvenated.
She added: "Young or old, every Singaporean will have their own HDB story to tell - of their experiences and memories growing up in the HDB heartland. We are committed to making this story a special one for generations to come."