In 1947, the British Housing Committee Report noted Singapore had one of the world’s worst slums - “a disgrace to a civilised community” and the average person-per-building density was 18.2 by 1947.
HDB is now widely-considered public housing at its best with more than 80% of Singapore’s population living in HDB, across 23 towns and 3 estates.
Having completed more than 1 million flats and housed an entire nation, we believe there is more that we can do to build new-generation housing and smart, sustainable towns. We will continue to serve to the best of our abilities to create the best possible living environment where communities can thrive.
1 in 3 households lives in HDB 4-room flat, making it the most common housing in 2015.
Singapore's expertise in successful new town design was internationally recognised by the United Nation, and awarded the World Habitat Award to Tampines Town in 1992.
“HDB is not just a developer and master planner, we also play a social role.”
- Fong Chun Wah, HDB’s Group Director
Until the mid-1900s, much of the population lived in slums and squatter settlements, their makeshift homes reflecting their transient relationship with the migrant colony. Slum fires, however, forced them to move into flats. With the relocation to permanent housing, a sense of belonging grew.
The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) was set up in July 1927 to solve the serious housing shortage.
Many of the 23,000 flats it built were in areas such as Tiong Bahru and Old Airport Road.
SIT flats were designed for Singapore’s climate - high ceilings, large windows and open balconies were key features. Land scarcity was less of a concern, so these walk-up blocks tend to be under 10 storeys high.
Their design inspiration bear the distinctive curved forms of the Art Deco movement, which were popular during the 1920s and 1930s.