The Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore is a government agency that was established in 1960 to provide affordable housing for Singaporeans. The history of HDB and the development of public housing in Singapore is closely tied to the country’s economic and social development.
In the early years of Singapore’s independence, the majority of the population lived in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in slums and squatter settlements. In order to address this problem, the government established the HDB with the goal of providing affordable and decent housing for all Singaporeans.
The first HDB housing estates, known as “flats,” were built in the 1960s and 1970s. These early flats were designed to be basic and functional, with few frills or amenities. Despite this, they were a significant improvement over the slums and squatter settlements that many Singaporeans had previously lived in.
Over the years, the HDB has continued to evolve and improve its housing offerings. In the 1980s and 1990s, the HDB introduced a number of new features and amenities, such as lifts and covered walkways, to make the flats more comfortable and convenient for residents. The HDB also began to build larger and more spacious flats, including 3- and 4-room flats, to accommodate the growing needs of Singapore’s population.
The HDB has also played a key role in shaping the urban landscape of Singapore. The HDB’s “new towns” program, which began in the 1970s, aimed to create self-contained towns with a mix of housing, commercial, and community facilities. Today, the HDB’s new towns are home to more than 80% of Singapore’s population and are considered one of the key factors that have contributed to the country’s social and economic development.
In recent years, the HDB has continued to innovate and improve its housing offerings. The HDB has introduced new housing types, such as the Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) schemes, which allow Singaporeans to apply for and purchase new HDB flats directly from the government, rather than the resale market. The HDB also introduced the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) which is a public-private partnership scheme that allows private developers to build and sell HDB-like flats with more luxurious features.
Overall, the HDB has played a vital role in the development of Singapore’s housing landscape. Through its efforts, the HDB has helped to provide affordable and decent housing for millions of Singaporeans and has played a major role in shaping the country’s social and economic development.