Singapore’s Public Housing


Singapore is hailed as having achieved unparalleled success in providing low-cost affordable public housing for the masses; and is admired the world over for its town planning and urban management policies. Through them, Singapore transformed its housing landscape from one of slums and squatters into a well-planned distribution of residential townships throughout the island state. The four main features of the public housing policy in Singapore are: strong government support, provision of financial aid in the form of subsidies and housing loans, a sound legislative structure and supportive government policies.

This resource guide lists materials on Singapore public housing that are available at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library and its electronic databases.

Search Terms Call Number
Factors affecting social behaviour- movement of people 304.8
Communities- planning and development 307.1
Private law 346
Housing- housing and household equipment 643.1
Buildings- maps, plans, diagrams 690.1
Area planning- residential areas 711.58
Architecture- historical, geographic, persons treatment (Asia) 720.95




  • Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore. (2013). Housing : turning squatters into stakeholders. Singapore : Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 HOU
    Spanning five decades, the book traces the evolution of public housing in Singapore. It shows how Singapore’s public housing policies not only addressed the housing needs of its population but the social and nation-building goals of the country as well.


  • Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by The Straits Times Press.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 LS
    Produced on the 50th anniversary of the Housing Development Board, this book gives an overview of the Board’s achievements in public housing.


  • Fong, C. W. (2005). Public housing in Singapore: Social aspects and the elderly. Singapore: Research and Planning Dept, Housing Development.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 PUB
    From the results of the HDB Sample Household Survey 2003, this monograph touches on kinship ties, community bonding, and the quality of life of the elderly in HDB estates. It details the socio-economic profile of the elderly, and their likes and dislikes about living in HDB, use of facilities, perception of high-rise high-density living, and housing aspirations.



  • Goh, L. P. (2014). Public housing in Singapore: social well-being of HDB communities : HDB sample household survey 2013. Singapore : Housing and Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 PUB
    This is one of two publications based on the five-yearly sample household survey conducted in 2013 which covered 7,800 households in 23 HDB towns and 3 estates. Overall social well-being of the survey households were high. HDB played a positive role of cultivating community and family relations rather than just provider of public housing and facilities.


  • Latif, A. (2009). Lim Kim San: a builder of Singapore. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585092 ASA
    Made Chairman of HDB in 1960, Lim established the institution and led it in laying the foundations of building affordable housing on a massive scale to meet the residential needs of our population. Read his personal account here.


  • Mah, B. T. (2011). Reflections on housing a nation: a collection of commentaries. Singapore : Ministry of National Development.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 MAH
    As Minister of National Development from 1999, Mah Bow Tan produced a series of comments that examine aspects of Singapore’s housing system, such as supply and affordability.


  • Ooi, G. L., Siddique, S. & Soh, K.C. (Eds.). (1993). The management of ethnic relations in public housing estates. Singapore: Times Academic Press for Institute of Policy Studies.
    Call no.: RSING 305.80095957 OOI
    This study reviews the policies that impact on ethnic relations in Singapore, focusing on HDB’s ethnic integration policy, ethnic relations in neighbourhood schools and the management and maintenance of multiculturalism in grassroots organisations. Key findings and recommendations to fine-tune the policies and programmes are made in the final chapter.


  • Research and Planning Dept. Research Section, Housing Development Board. (2000). Social aspects of public housing in Singapore: Kinship ties and neighbourly relations. Singapore: Research Section, Research & Planning Dept., Housing & Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 SOC
    Based on the results of the HDB Sample Household Survey 1998, this monograph reports that kinship ties between parents and their married children remain strong despite nuclearisation of families, and the state of neighbourly relations tended to be extensive rather than intensive.


  • Singapore. Ministry of National Development. (2008). An endearing home, a distinctive global city, Singapore. Singapore: Ministry of National Development.
    Call no.: RSING 354.34095957 END
    This publication from the Ministry of National Development (MND) gives an overview of its roles and responsibilities as a government agency responsible for land use and infrastructural development planning. It works with other government agencies and statutory boards to ensure that Singapore’s land is used efficiently. In the area of housing, MND works with HDB to provide affordable public housing that encourages the growth of vibrant, thriving multi-racial communities. This is done through activities such as the planning and development of new towns, the allocation and managing of HDB properties, and the upgrading and redevelopment of older HDB towns and estates.


  • Tai, C. L. (1988). Housing policy and high-rise living: A study of Singapore’s public housing. Singapore: Chopmen Publishers.
    Call no.: RSING 307.336095957 TAI
    This text aims to find out the social and political impacts of the housing programme in Singapore, effects of the relocation process on various sub-groups within the relocated population as well as on social life in the public housing estates as well as the patterns of neighbourliness in these estates. Includes five case studies (one Indian, two Malay and two Chinese families living in one-room to four-room flats) that were selected to represent the broad spectrum of sample families.


  • Tan, A. H. H. & Phang, Sock-Yong. (1991). The Singapore experience in public housing. Singapore: Times Academic Press for the Centre for Advanced Studies National University of Singapore.
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 TAN
    This paper, presented at the World Bank Conference, “China: Housing Reform Sector Study” in Beijing, 9-11 October 1989, examines the various policies that brought about the housing reform in Singapore, such as the the Central Provident Fund being utilised for housing finance, HDB rental policies, home-ownership policies and the HDB resale market policies.


  • Tan, W. (2002). The housing market. Singapore: Prentice Hall.
    Call no.: RSING 363.5095957 TAN
    This text provides an introduction to how housing markets operate and state policies that are used to balance demand and supply for housing. It examines in detail HDB’s price strategies (price/ rent controls, anti-monopoly pricing measures) demand strategies (tax breaks, financing schemes) and supply strategies (land policies, town councils, improving productivity in residential construction).


  • Wong, Tai-Chee. (2005). A roof over every head: Singapore’s housing policies in the 21st century: Between state monopoly and privatisation. Calcutta: Sampark.
    Call no: RSING 363.5095957 WON
    Divided into three sections, chapter 1 examines the development of Singapore’s housing strategy and public housing policies from the 1920s to 1990s. Chapter 2 looks at the more affluent middle class’ rising aspiration for more exclusive private housing and the government’s response in restricting its access. The final chapter discusses trends in Singapore’s private housing and the arguments against the corporatisation of HDB.


Newspaper Articles


  • Estates to be revitalised, with homes nearer to green spaces: MND, MEWR. (2016, January 21). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The Government is committed to providing a range of public housing options so there is “a home for every budget and need’…”


  • S’poreans’ dreams for nation’s future go on show. (2015, November 25). Today (Singapore). Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…in the Home Tomorrow dome, visitors…explore possibilities for the living environments of the future, featuring smart design and technology. The exhibit introduces concepts such as green cities and self-powered HDB towns…”


  • Khaw Boon Wan sees Singapore housing supply rising 11% in three years. (2015, February 21)The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…by early 2018, the stock of housing in Singapore would have grown to 1.43 million units…”


  • S’pore scores in efforts to improve home affordability.  (2014, January 22). The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The survey rated Singapore’s home affordability at 5.1 in the third quarter of 2013.”


  • Under 5% of HDB flats owned by PRs.  (2009, November 24). The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Permanent residents occupy less than 5 per cent of all Housing Board flats, and are living in estates across the island.


  • More turn to sub-letting HDB flats. (2009, November 9). TODAY (Singapore),  p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The relaxation of public housing policy in March 2007 sparked the first increase in the number of Singaporeans sub-letting their housing board flats.


  • 48 years of housing a nation.  (2008, October 28). The Straits Times, p. 86. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Unlike many countries where public housing means ‘homes for the poor’, some 80 per cent of Singapore’s population live in a diverse range of 900,000 public homes islandwide today.


  • Rental flats: Closing the door on abuse. (2008, October 25). The Straits Times, p. 86. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Several factors – the rise of rental cheats and the recent surge in demand for rental flats – have prompted the HDB to conduct a review of its public rental scheme, the results of which are due early next year.


  • Needy will move to head of queue for HDB rental flats. (2008, August 24). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Yesterday, Mr Mah told reporters at a community event in Tampines: ‘Our housing policy is premised on home ownership. Rental flats are there because we recognise that there is a small group of people who cannot afford to own flats.’


  • Housing: S’poreans first, reiterates HDB. (2008, August 23). The Straits Times, Forum, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    “We wish to reiterate the principles underlying our public housing policy. First, public housing in Singapore caters primarily to the housing needs of Singapore citizens and their families.”


  • Checklist of must-dos for HDB resale flats. (2008, March 25). The Straits Times,  p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Housing agents will soon have to walk buyers and sellers through the rules before a deal. Minister for National Development Mah Bow Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan.


  • New HDB grant for filial singles. (2008, March 28). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Single Singaporeans who opt to buy an HDB resale flat in order to live with their parents can now get a housing subsidy of $20,000.


  • Building a nation with HDB blocks. (2006. August 18). The Straits Times, Review, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Minister for National Development Mah Bow said “…housing, how it has played a major role in building communities and the nation, and what lessons we can draw from it…mindful that this is viewed from a Singapore perspective…”


  • We build homes, not just houses. (2005, December 6). Today, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    “Affordability has always been a major consideration in the pricing of HDB flats. HDB sells flats with a market subsidy to enable the majority of Singaporeans to afford a basic flat.”




  • Tan S. B. & Naidu, V. L. (2014). Public Housing in Singapore: Examining Fundamental Shifts. Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy website:
    The paper discusses the public housing policies changes since the inception of the Home Ownership Scheme. It also offers policy alternatives for the purposes of class discussion.



  • Yuen, B. (2007, November). Squatters No More: Singapore Social Housing. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from the Global Urban Development website:
    This paper focuses on the topic of land policy in the context of poverty, inequality and social exclusion. It examines Singapore’s housing policy development, identifies key policies and reforms and the impact they have on the poorer sectors in society in improving their urban quality of life.


Laws and Regulations

The housing laws in Singapore spell out the conditions under which a house (public or private) can be rented, bought and sold. These laws are aimed to protect the tenant, the landowner, the buyer and the seller and prevents unscrupulous underhanded dealings which could serve to over inflate the property market and cause property prices to spiral unchecked skywards. For public housing, there are also regulations that govern the usage of the flat, such as converting a residential space to a home-based office. The resources below provide information on Singapore’s housing laws and legislation.





  • Low, L. (1997). Housing a healthy, educated and wealthy nation through the CPF. Singapore: Times Academic Press for the Institute of Policy Studies.
    Call no.: RSING 368.4095957 LOW
    This book details the origins and developments in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and expands on how it has helped as investment for healthcare and education and lifelong provision of income for old age. Chapter two focuses particularly on CPF housing schemes that were implemented to help Singaporeans become homeowners.


  • Motha, P. (1995). Investing in HDB property. Singapore: Times Books International.
    Call no.: RSING 643.12095957 MOT
    Laid out in an easy-to-digest question and answer format, HDB applicants (first timers and upgraders) will gain an insight to the procedures, rules and regulations which affect HDB property transactions in this guide.


  • Sabaan, H. (2004). Buying a home. Singapore: Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell Asia.
    Call no.: RSING 346.59570436 HAI
    Written for the aspiring homeowner, this useful guide provides an overview of the legal and social responsibilities of homeownership. Some of the topics include regulations concerning the purchase of public and private homes, dealing with estate agents, handling fees and expenses and estate planning.


  • Tan, S. Y. (1998). Private ownership of public housing in Singapore. Singapore: Times Academic Press.
    Call no.: RSING 344.595703 TAN
    This book provides an overview of public housing legislation and focuses on the rights to ownership of HDB flats, HUDC flats and the executive condominium scheme.


  • Yuen, B., Teo, H. P. & Ooi, G. L. (1999). Singapore housing : an annotated bibliography. Singapore : Housing Policy & Development Research Team, Faculty of Architecture, Building & Real Estate, National University of Singapore.
    Call no.: PublicationSG
    This annotated bibliography classifies the development of housing in Singapore into five time periods. It lists published as well as unpublished works on housing policy and development research of Singapore.


Newspaper Articles


  • Despite the shortening of maximum loan tenures, housing… (2016, April 26). Today (Singapore). Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The debt-servicing ratio (DSR)- which looks at the proportion of monthly income used to pay off a mortgage- has fallen from 24 per cent in 2013 to 22 per cent in 2014, to 19 per cent last year…”


  • More S’poreans eligible for HDB flats, grants after policy changes. (2016, April 13). My Paper. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “ the household income ceilings to buy new and resale HDB flats with the CPF Housing Grants were raised.


  • HDB flat sellers can now ask for right to stay on; Such a mutually agreed upon deal, for up to 3 months, would let seller get cash, finish renovations in new property. (2014, July 23). Today. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Previously, those who sold their HDB flats had to move out as soon as they completed the resale transaction as buyers were required under the lease to immediately occupy their new homes.”


  • Integration out of reach as long as we live apart. (2014, June 24). Business Day. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…the Singapore housing programme was designed to strip society of the racial segregation that characterised colonialism and integrate income and racial groupings, while also preventing the development of ethnic or low-income enclaves.”


  • Khaw Boon highlights importance of MRI for public flat owners. (2013, August 16). Singapore Government News. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “ Housing Development Board flat owners are required to either go for the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) or an equivalent Mortgage Reducing Insurance (MRI) scheme…these types of insurance can help in paying-off the outstanding loan on a flat if tragedy strikes the breadwinner of the family…”





  • Enter Singapore. (2017). Property Buyer’s Guide. Retrieved on 27 February 2017, from Enter Singapore website:
    This website provides information on buying an apartment or house for foreigners, expatriates and permanent residents. It contains a summary of the pros and cons of buying a Singapore property, types of property in Singapore, a glossary of property sales jargon, guidelines on financing a property, purchase and resale step-by-step guides and links to other local websites with related information.


  • Singapore Land Authority. (2016, August 31). Property Registration Services. Retrieved on 27 February 2017 from Singapore Land Authority website:
    The Singapore Land Authority’s Land Titles Registry explains the Registration of Deeds Act and handles the registration of all property transactions in Singapore.


  • Wong, L.  (2008, June 23). Singapore’s Home Ownership Programme. Presentation from Singapore on the UN Public Service Day and Awards. Retrieved on 27 February 2017 from Singapore Land Authority website:
    These slides provide an overview of how Singapore’s home ownership programme began in 1964. Key benefits of the programme are highlighted as well as the factors that have contributed to the success of the programme, such as strong government support (legislation and funding), comprehensive town planning, use of the CPF, flexible and responsive housing policies and continuous upgrading and redevelopment.


Build-to-Order Scheme

The BTO scheme was implemented in April 2001 by the Housing Development Board (HDB) to help match the supply of flats to the demand from home seekers. It also gives flat applicants more choices in terms of location, size of their homes and better estimation of when they need to place the down payment for their new flats. Under the scheme, HDB identifies a few sites for new flats but only starts building if demand reaches more than 70 per cent. Tender for construction of these new flats is called only when most of the flats have been booked. The pilot scheme offered about 2,500 flats for sale in four sites in Sembawang and Sengkang in April 2001.


Newspaper Articles


  • Muted response to launches of two residential projects. (2016, May 4). The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…with Parc Life Executive Condominium (EC) project in Sembawang…selling over 50 units of the total 628 units…”


  • Pledges of support for elderly folk. (2016, May 1). The Straits Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Two new Build-To-Order” projects in the Bukit Batok single-member constituency will be ready by next year, and they may introduce more young families to the estate, where almost eight in 10 of the HDB blocks have been around for at least 30 years.”


  • Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Health; What seniors need, care providers seek to meet. (2016, April 14). The Straits Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…MOH is also working with the Housing Board to build “Active Ageing Hubs” within new Build-to-Order developments.”


  • Loft living HDB-style. (2015, February 23). The Straits Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The ‘loft concept’ living room was touted as a new style of public housing at its launch in 2009.”


  • HDB resale flats a third more expensive than ne BTO flats in suburbs: Khaw. (2014, November 3). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…the price difference between the two flat types was 18 per cent in 2004.”


  • 8,500 singles in S’pore apply for 155 flats. (2013, August 7). Asia News Network. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…more than 8,500 singles have jumped on the up to 155 flats in Sengkang and Yishun areas reserved for them.”


  • HDB launches four more BTO projects. (2009, December 16). The Business Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    “…2,670 new units are being offered in the latest BTO exercise- the largest number of flats at any one launch in recent years…”


  • Pick-your-layout flats for Dawson estate. (2009, December 16). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    “For the first time, the Housing Board (HDB) is offering flexible flat layouts to best suit individual family needs. Three floor plans are available:- a standard layout, a larger living room option or a larger master bedroom option.”


  • HDB offers new 3- and 4-room flats in Sengkang. (2005, September 28). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    They will be built only if about 70% are booked… The Housing Board is putting up for sale 128 three-room and 372 four-room flats in Sengkang, midway between Fernvale and Layar LRT stations.


  • Premium HDB flats in Punggol up for sale. (2005, July 2). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The Housing Board has put up for sale 369 four-room flats in Punggol. These premium apartments, with better finish, go for $169,000 to $206,000.


  • HDB to resume building flats. (2003, July 1). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    It will begin construction of 7,600 units this year; figure is much lower than the 22,000 flats completed in 2001.


  • More attracted to ‘build to order’ HDB flats. (2003, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    More than 2,400 people apply for 1,466 flats. The response rate outperforms pilot exercise in 2001. Singaporeans appear to be really warming up to the Housing Board’s Build-to-order programme.



  • HDB scraps queue system for its flats. (2002, May 19). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Options for buyers include picking unsold units or joining a scheme in which flats are built only if there is enough demand.


  • Relook housing demand, say experts. (2002, January 11). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Changing ‘inflexible’ allocation system and building to order among suggestions for managing over-supply of new flats.


  • Flats unsold, so more choice for buyers. (2002, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Big selection exercise will give all in the HDB queue their pick of 17,500 flats in new towns as Government acts to boost demand.


  • Fewer people in queue for new flats. (2001, September 15). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Fewer people are in the queue for new Housing Board flats. In June this year, only 22,000 applications came under the HDB’s Registration for Flat System (RFS), compared to the 37,000 in July last year.


  • HDB to build flats to order, if popular. (2001, May 10). The Straits Times, p. H10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    New system would give buyers more control as it lets them choose the location and the kind of home they want.


  • Build-to-order HDB flats – 4 sites picked. (2001, April 17). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    These will be in Sembawang and Sengkang under a pilot project, which aims to give buyers greater control over the location of their new flats.


  • HDB build-to-order 5-room flats to cost $206,000-$275,000. (2001, April 16). The Business Times Singapore, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Prices are indicative with actual prices based on final design. The Housing and Development Board has revealed indicative prices for the pilot batch of 2,580 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats at four sites in Sembawang and Sengkang.


  • HDB’s build-to-order system to start in Q2. (2001, March 22). The Business Times Singapore, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The Housing and Development Board will pilot the build-to-order (BTO) flats system in Sengkang and Sembawang in the second quarter.



  • Housing Development Board. (2015, September 15). Build-To-Order/ Sale of Balance Flats. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017 from the Housing Development Board website:
    Provides information on how the BTO scheme works, procedures for applying for a flat under this scheme and the optional component scheme.


Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS)

The Design, Build and Sell Scheme was introduced in March 2005 to allow private developers to build public housing to create more choices for flat seekers and inject innovation in the building and design of multi-storey flats, while preserving the main characteristics of public housing, such as maintaining open access to common properties. Under this scheme, private developers are involved in not only the construction of the flats but are also responsible for bidding for the land, designing the flats and their surrounding landscape and selling the flats directly to eligible flat buyers. They are granted the freedom to decide on the design, finish, size and unit configuration of the flat and can sell the flats at a price comparable to those listed on the open market. When the development is completed, HDB then assumes administrative functions of the DBSS flats and the Town Councils will manage the common areas and carparks.

Past DBSS sites include The Premiere @ Tampines, City View @ Boon Keng, Park Central @ Ang Mo Kio, Natura Loft @ Bishan, Parc Lumiere @ Simei and The Peak @ Toa Payoh. Recent DBSS sites are Pasir Ris One@ Pasir Ris, Centrale 8 @ Tampines, Trivelis@ Clementi.


Newspaper Articles


  • City & Country: Qingjian’s The Visionaire presents next-generation smart home. (2016, April 11). The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The government wants Singapore to be a ‘Smart Nation’, so we thought we should create our vision of a smart home.”


  • City View @ Boon Keng unit fetches over $1m. (2016, March 11). The Straits Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “ A top-floor unit at City View @ Boon Keng has been sold for more than S$1 million, confirming predictions that the premium public housing project would turn some flat owners there into millionaires.”


  • Home construction quality standards must be raised. (2015, September 4). Today (Singapore). Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Bad workmanship…surfacing with increasing frequency in public housing…Residents have complained about narrow corridors, cracked walls, uneven flooring, leaks and overflowing toilets, and plaster slabs falling off…”


  • Condo-style HDB flat prices going up. (2009, September 5). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …This move has surprised industry analysts, as buyers of such hybrid flats under the Housing Board’s Design, Build and Sell scheme (DBSS) have a fixed household income ceiling of $8,000….


  • Condo-style HDB flats selling well. (2009, May 17). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    … But at prices of $500,000 to $730,000, the Design, Build and Sell Scheme units don’t come cheap…


  • Queuing 36 hours for a home. (2009, April 26). The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
    “… I had to physically queue alongside hundreds of others for a flat at the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project in Simei… The queue lasted two days. The fatigue, however, lingered on for the rest of the week.”


  • Condo-style HDB flats: Peak price of $722k. (2009, April 9). The Straits Times, p. 49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    … The project, at Lorong 1A Toa Payoh, comes under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), and offers premium fittings. But unlike private condominiums, these projects do not have facilities.


  • ‘Resistance level’ for condo-style HDB flats: $500,000. (2009, April 7). The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …The tightening property market and demand for smaller homes have created a dilemma for the HDB’s design, build and sell scheme (DBSS) – price flats over $500,000 and buyers could stay away….


  • Private ayes. (2009, February 7). The Straits Times, p. 92. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Launched in 2006, The Premiere is the Housing Board’s first privately developed flat under its Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS). There were two-, four- and five-room flats on offer at prices from $138,000 to $450,000 at that time.


  • Condo-style HDB flats losing allure. (2008, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 85. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Falling prices in private home market chipping away at demand for DBSS flats


  • Natura Loft to be launched on Friday. (2008, October 29). The Straits Times, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Natura Loft at Bishan, a project under the Housing Board’s Design , Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), will feature three 40-storey blocks of 160 four-room units and 320 five-roomers….


  • HDB LIVING WITH CONDO FRILLS. (2008, July 19). TODAY (Singapore), p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    A yoga plaza, roof-top garden and spacious balconies with planter boxes for alfresco relaxation and dining — not the normal features you would expect to find in an Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate.


  • HDB’s challenge: low-cost housing, condo-like flats. (2008, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Singaporeans should also get to enjoy the ‘HDB experience’. To this end, condo-like flats are being built under the Design , Build & Sell Scheme in areas such as Boon Keng and Bishan.


  • HDB will cater to buyers with different income levels: Mah. (2008, February 29). The Business Times Singapore, p.  9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …resale prices rose by about 17 per cent last year. In addition, reports said that buyers forked out up to $727,000 for a five-room flat in a private-developer built, condo-style project offered under the Design , Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).


  • Condo-style flats only a small part of public housing, says Mah. (2008, January 22). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told Parliament that high-end flats – built under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) – ‘serve to fulfil the needs of a niche segment of the HDB market – those with higher aspirations.


  • Raise or not to raise? (2008, January 22). TODAY (Singapore), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Taking up the issue of Design , Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats in Parliament yesterday, Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Eunice Olsen said: “When the income ceiling of $8,000 was set by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), there was no…


  • Are condo-like HDB flats good value?. (2008, January 6). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …These more luxurious HDB flats, built under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme, are being snapped up by homebuyers. Even before the project’s launch, more than 1,000 inquiries had been made.


  • Condo-like flats in Boon Keng going on sale. (2008, January 4). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    … Under the Design , Build and Sell Scheme, private developers are free to design, price and sell the flats as long as they work within the confines of…




  • Housing Development Board. (2016, March 2). DBSS. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from the Housing Development Board website:
    Provides all the information one needs to know about DBSS, such as the procedures, policies, eligibility criteria, priority and financing schemes available. Also includes a link to the current 6 DBSS sites that have been launched for sale and some brief information on up-coming DBSS sites.


Estate Rejuvenation Programmes

The government implemented an Estate Renewal Strategy (ERS) to spruce up old housing estates and improve the quality of life for the residents. Under ERS, these are the key programmes initiated:


Main Upgrading Programme (MUP)
– launched in July 1989 to improve the overall living environment of old flats and their housing estates.


Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP)
– launched in 1990 for HDB blocks to provide direct access to flats on every floor for the convenience of residents.


Interim Upgrading Programme Plus (IUP Plus)
– started in 20 May 2002, combines the Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP) and Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) –  it discontinued in 2007 with the introduction of Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.


Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SRES)
– residents living in flats that have identified for SERS will be allocated a replacement flat at HDB’s subsidised price with an added 20% price discount and receive compensation at market value for the current flat.


Home Improvement Programme (HIP)
– flats built up to 1986 which have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme qualify for this programme。
– rectifies common maintenance problems in ageing flats eg. spalling concrete and ceiling leaks。


Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) – replaces IUP Plus – flats built up to 1989 which have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme, Interim Upgrading Programme or IUP Plus are eligible for NRP – improves the block and neighbourhood facilities.




  • Singapore Concrete Institute. (2006). Blueprints for successful public housing development, Singapore: Singapore Concrete Institute.
    Call no.: RSING 690.831095957 BLU
    This book outlines the key success factors and experience gone through by the team in HDB to make its public housing programme such a phenomenal success.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. (19–). Public housing in Singapore [interactive multimedia]: Yesterday, today and tomorrow , Singapore: Housing & Development Board.Call No.: RSING 363.585095957 PUB
    This CD-ROM presents the story of how Singapore’s public housing programme was initiated and implemented after the Housing and Development Board was formed in 1960, and the various upgrading and redevelopment programmes that have helped to enhance the wellbeing of residents.


Newspaper articles


  • Aljunied-Hougang among 3 Town Councils with largest number of HIP-eligible flats. (2016, April 6). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “ The three Town Councils with the largest number of eligible Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats for the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) are…”


  • HDB committed to upgrading existing towns. (2015, December 2). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Estate rejuvenation could be a focus area for the Housing and Development Board (HDB) going forward.”


  • For some, it’s hard to say goodbye. (2009, December 4). Today – Afternoon Edition, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    “My parents bought this flat when we heard it was slated for HDB’s Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, and now we’re moving into a four-room flat in Dawson.”


  • 274 precincts upgraded from 1993 to 2006. (2009, November 24). The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    A detailed list of HDB precincts whose estates were improved with such features as covered linkways, barbecue pits and community gardens was given in Parliament yesterday.


  • 15 Nee Soon South blocks in line for lift upgrade. (2009, October 19). The Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    More than 1,300 households in Nee Soon South may get lift landings on every floor and a facelift to their estate soon – if at least three in four residents from the selected blocks agree to it.


  • Many schemes to rejuvenate older estates. (2009, September 12). The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Over the years, HDB has introduced various upgrading programmes to rejuvenate older estates. These programmes improve the physical living environment and bring them closer to the standard of newer estates.


  • Third batch of HDB sites for upgrading. (2009, September 5). The Business  Times Singapore, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said yesterday that $86.1 million will be spent to upgrade the third batch of sites chosen for the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP).


  • Facelift for 13 more HDB estates. (2009, September 5). The Straits Times, 5 September 2009, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …The Housing Board yesterday announced the rejuvenation of these estates at a cost of $86.1 million under its Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP)….


  • Toa Payoh. (2009, August 28). The Straits Times, p. 108. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The 463 ha estate is also among those earmarked for the $1billion Home Improvement Programme, which will introduce improvements like new toilets and metal grille gates over the next three years.


  • 99% are happy with HIP. (2009, July 14). TODAY (Singapore), p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The residents have spoken: In a recent survey conducted by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), 99 per cent of Yishun residents are satisfied with the work under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).


  • 33,000 HDB flats to be upgraded over 3 years. (2009, July 14). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The Government is ramping up a programme to spruce up older HDB flats over the next three years – a move that is expected to benefit 33,000 households.


  • Opposition wards get LUP invite. (2009, July 14). TODAY (Singapore), p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    With five years to go before the nation-wide Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) is due for completion, the countdown may have also finally begun for residents in Potong Pasir and Hougang.


  • Serangoon to be upgraded by 2012. (2009, May 24). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Some 23,000 households — nearly twice as many as in the previous batch — are next to benefit from the neighbourhood renewal programme (NRP).


  • Bukit Panjang zone to get upgrade. (2009, March 23). The Straits Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Bukit Panjang will be among the first few estates to benefit from the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, which is aimed at upgrading older HDB estates.


  • HDB steps up lift upgrading. (2009, March 7). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Costs are moderating and the work will help smaller contractors, says Grace Fu. The pace of lift upgrading in HDB blocks will be increased by as much as 12 per cent this year – a move that will give struggling local builders a timely leg up.


  • $8.5b to be spent to help remake S’pore. (2009, February 7). The Business Times Singapore, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Older estates will be rejuvenated through the injection of new flats and residents. The government will spend $8.5 billion to revamp Singapore’s HDB estates and develop the commercial nodes of Marina Bay, Jurong East, Paya Lebar and Kallang.


  • 48 years of housing a nation. (2008, October 25). The Straits Times, p. 86. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    From breaking the back of the housing problem in the 1960s, the HDB’s new challenge is meeting aspirations of dwellers in the new millennium.


  • Happy homes, happy workforce. (2008, October 14). The Business Times Singapore, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    In many countries, public housing is a dirty word. But in Singapore, HDB flats are able to offer its residents quality lifestyles in quality buildings.


  • Yishun folk first to enjoy HIP movement. (2008, July 26). TODAY (Singapore), p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Residents of blocks 227 to 235 at Yishun Street 21 yesterday became the first to cast their votes under the new Home Improvement Programme (HIP), which will see the interiors of their ageing flats upgraded according to homeowners’ choices.


  • Yishun to get exciting new facilities in facelift. (2008, July 26). The Straits Times, p. 48. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Yishun might be showing its age but it is in line for a radical renewal that will smarten up existing facilities and add exciting new ones.


  • Spruce-up time for 650 HDB flats in Tampines. (2008, February 18).  The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Several hundred Tampines residents are expected to be among the first to have their flats spruced up in a new Housing Board scheme that will see the Government foot most of the bill.



  • 590 HDB blocks picked for upgrading. (2008, February 5). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    About 590 Housing Board blocks in 58 locations islandwide have been picked for the next batch of improvement works under the HDB’s recently revised upgrading schemes. Areas set to benefit include Yishun, Tampines and Hougang.


  • Poor will not be neglected in HDB upgrading. (2008, January 22). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    THE Housing Board will not neglect the needs of the poor, or be rigid, as it upgrades flats under schemes which have recently been revamped.



The department of statistics and HDB conduct regular surveys to capture the demographic profiles of residents living in HDB flats. The property market trends in Singapore correspond closely to the country’s economic performance, declining during times of financial downturns and flourishing during the boom periods. The majority of Singaporeans live in public housing and upgrading or downgrading is common as their economic status and demographic profiles of households change. Many people who work and study in Singapore for short durations also rent HDB flats or rooms as these are significantly more affordable, compared to renting private apartments. The following resources provide statistical information on public housing in Singapore, as well as HDB resale and rental trends.



  • Department of Statistics, Singapore. (1997). Home upgrading in Singapore: 1991-1995. Singapore: Dept. of Statistics.
    Call no.: RSING 363.583095957 HOM
    This publication describes the household characteristics of Singaporeans who had upgraded or downgraded their homes during 1991-1995. The trends revealed that the majority of households that upgraded had a larger household size and higher household income, while the converse was true for households that downgraded.


  • Department of Statistics, Singapore. (1997). Tenant households in HDB flats. Singapore: Dept. of Statistics.
    Call no.: RSING 363.58095957 TEN
    This paper provides a profile of HDB flat tenants, examines their financial situation and concerns and assesses the potential for upward social mobility for these households.


  • Fong, C.W., et al. (2005). Public housing in Singapore: Social aspects & the elderly: HDB sample survey household. Singapore: Research and Planning Department, Housing and Development Board.
    Call no.: RQUIK 363.585095957 PUB
    This publication is also available in CD-ROM at L11 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. This sample household survey conducted in 2003 covers demographic profiles of HDB residents, residents’ level of community bonding, neighbourly interactions and kinship ties, and adaptatopn to living in a high-rise, high-density environment.


  • Leow, B. G. (2001). Census of population 2000: Households and housing. Statistical release 5. Singapore: Dept. of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry.
    Call no.: RSING 304.6021095957 LEO
    This statistical publication charts the broad trends and changes in the last decade for these areas: household size, household structure, household living arrangement, household income, type of dwelling, home ownership and residential mobility.


  • Quah, E. & Lee, D. (2004). Household economics and the Asian family. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
    Call no.: RSING 339.47 HOU
    The collection of 11 articles in this book explores varied facets of the Asian family life across five subject areas: household economic theory, consumption economics, social accounting, public finance and the economics of labour. Of particular interest is chapter five, where the author demonstrates that standard household characteristics such as income, marital status and family size helps an individual to decide whether to rent or to purchase housing in Singapore.


  • Research & Planning Department, Housing & Development Board. (2000). Profile of residents living in HDB flats. Singapore: Research & Planning Dept., Housing & Development Board.
    Call no.: *RQUIK q363.585095957 PRO issue 01/03/2000
    This publication is available upon request at the L11 Information Counter of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. This monograph focuses on the profile of HDB residents living in both HDB home ownership and rented flats, providing information on the household demographic and economic characteristics as well as on the residents’ travelling patterns to work/ school. The elderly and their lifestyles in HDB estates are also profiled.


  • Singapore. Department of Statistics. (1998). Household income growth and distribution, 1990-1997. Singapore: Dept. of Statistics.
    Call no.: RSING 339.22 HOU
    This paper consists of a longitudinal study by measuring the income growth of households at different life cycle stages and compares income distribution among lower-income and higher-income households.


  • Singapore. Dept. of Statistics. (2001). Census of population 2000, advance data release No.7: household income growth and distribution. Singapore: Dept. of Statistics.
    Call no.: RSING 339.22 CEN
    Household income growth is compared for the years 1990 and 2000, with trends showing that more households are in the higher income brackets, all ethnic groups have shown improvements in household income and there is a direct correlations between level of education attained and household income. Survey findings also show an increase in household income disparity, with comparisons made for 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2000.



  • Singapore. Dept. of Statistics. (2006). Housing mobility between 1995 and 2005. Singapore : Dept. of Statistics.
    Call no.: PublicationSG
    This occasional paper examines the housing mobility of Singapore resident population from 1995 to 2005. Using data drawn from the General Household Survey 1995, it offers a classification of housing mobility.


  • Singapore. Housing Development Board. (2000). Residential mobility and housing aspirations. Singapore: Research and Planning Department, Housing and Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING q304.8095957 SIN
    This monograph analyses the trends in household movement (upgrading, downgrading or lateral shifting) over the past 4 decades from 1960-1990. It also examines the living arrangement of residents upon marriage, residents’ intention to move within the next five years and their housing aspirations.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. (2005). Public housing in Singapore: Residents’ profile & physical aspects: HDB sample household survey 2003. Singapore : Research & Planning Department, Housing & Development Board.
    Call no.: RQUIK q363.585095957 PUB
    Available on request from L11 Information Counter of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. This survey profiles HDB residents and highlights trends such as a decline in household sizes, an increase in the number of elderly residents and higher ownership of consumer goods. It also measures residents’ satisfaction with the physical aspects of their housing estates, such as the reliability of lifts, privacy from neighbours and adequate commercial facilities (shops, markets, eating places etc).


Newspaper Articles


  • HDB resale prices in Q1 stay flat. (2016, April 23). The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Property consultants continue to believe that the public housing resale market is ‘at a new equilibrium’ and stabilising.”


  • My HDB home: buy, hold or sell? (2016, April 7). The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Statistics from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) are increasingly pointing to a stabilising resale market.”


  • Home truths. (2013, March 25). The Business Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “… continued buoyancy of the property market reflects the very low interest rate environment and continued income growth in Singapore. Housing prices have also shown signs of re-accelerating in recent months…”


  • Cooling measures may not be enough to dampen property fever, says iProperty. (2013, February 4). PR Newswire Asia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Singapore property buyers understand that prices will continue to go up, but appreciate the Government stepping in to manage the pace and ensure that public housing will remain within their reach…”


  • EC supply rate can afford to slow: housing experts. (2012, December 16). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…as part of seven EC projects this year remain unsold.”


  • Down on their luck as the recession takes hold. (2009, January 16). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    More families are moving into rental flats and seeking assistance. Along Boon Lay Drive are two blocks of flats which have been filling up steadily with residents over the past eight months.


  • Most baby boomers want independence in golden years. (2009, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    A possible reason: They wish to avoid tensions with families of children. Three-quarters of some 3,000 baby boomers surveyed want to live on their own in their golden years, going by the results of the first study on those now aged between 44 and 61.


  • Home prices rise more slowly in quiet market. (2008, April 28). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Lower-than-forecast 3.7% growth could signal start of decline. The property market may have gone quiet, but home prices continued their steady climb in the first three months of this year, albeit at a much weaker pace.


  • Foreigner factor in property here to stay. (2008, March 27). The Business Times Singapore, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Rising rents, influx of foreign talent set to spur demand for homes, say analysts. The attraction to foreigners of buying a non-landed home in Singapore isn’t expected to wane in the mid- to longer-term, say property experts.


  • Strong showing in some suburban areas and projects. (2008, January 3). The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Bukit Batok home prices soar 43% but other districts drop as much as 20%. Private homes in some suburban areas proved the most resilient amid a general slowing in price rises across the board, the latest government figures show.


  • HDB rental jumps on spillover demand. (2007, February 27). The Business Times Singapore, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Trend appears to be island-wide and for all apartment sizes, but resale prices stay flat. Rents for HDB flats have surged in the past 12 months, driven by spillover demand as rents for private housing have climbed.





  • Housing Development Board. (2015, October 2). Resale Statistics. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Housing Development Board website:
    The HDB Resale Price Index tracks the overall price movement of the public residential market. The index is calculated using resale transactions registered across various towns, flat types and models, with the fourth quarter of 1998 as the base period (i.e. index has value 100 in 4Q98). Transacted prices and other details of resale transactions approved for the past one year are also available.


  • Department of Statistics Singapore. (2017, February 8). Households & Housing. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017 from Department of Statistics Singapore website:
    Provides links to statistical publications on households and housing characteristics, such as type of dwelling, average household size and resident demographics.



  • Department of Statistics Singapore. (2017, February 16). General Household Survey, 2015. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Department of Statistics Singapore website:
    The general household survey is a large-scale mid-decade national survey undertaken by the Singapore Department of Statistics. It is the second largest statistical project in Singapore after the Population Census. It provides benchmark data for key demographic, social and labour force statistics between the Census years.




Urban Planning for Sustainable Development

Long-term sustainable planning for an urban city-state such as Singapore requires the prudent formulation and execution of policies to ensure efficient land and resource use, adequate and affordable public housing and sound infrastructural development to achieve continued economic progress and improve the quality of life for Singaporeans. These policies also need to be flexible to meet the challenges of perpetual changes in the global climate and technology. In the pursuit for prosperity, sustainable development necessitates safeguarding the environment as a way to maintain a high standard of public health and ensure Singapore’s attraction as a desirable place to live and work. It also requires making conscious efforts to conserve energy and water, while investing in R&D to find resource alternatives and taking advantage of new technologies to meet the growing needs of the population in a resource-scarce society.



  • The concept plan 2001. (2001). Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority
    Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 CON
    This Concept Plan 21 maps out the long-term plan for Singapore’s physical growth for the next 40 to 50 years. Seven key proposals that represent the key thrusts for housing, recreation, business, infrastructure and identity are: new homes in familiar places; high-rise city living; more choices for recreation; greater flexibility for businesses; a global business centre; an extensive rail network and focus on identity.


  • Bishop, R., Phillips, J., & You, Wei-Wei. (Eds.). (2004). Beyond description: Singapore space historicity, London: Routledge.
    Call no.: RSING 307.1216095957 BEY
    Contributed by academics and industry experts, the collection of articles in this book focuses on the architectural spaces in Singapore, focusing on the inter-relationships among space, historicity, architecture and texuality, that is, Singapore as seen to be an example of postcolonialsim and global urbanism.


  • Fleetwood, C. (2012). Housing people : affordable housing solutions for the 21st century, Singapore : Surbana International Consultants
    Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FLE
    Details seven housing projects in Singapore, each linked to a global urban need, such eco-design for environmental sustainability, space efficiency for short term residential stayers, maximising housing potential through high density living, balancing high-density living with residential living (through fusing public housing with public green space), and independent living for the elderly.


  • Hwang, Y. H. (Ed.). (2012). Reimaging HDB landscape Singapore : Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture, Dept. of Architecture, National University of Singapore.
    Call no.: RSING 720.95957 REI
    Students of architecture look at middle-aged HDB towns in Singapore and propose ways to enhance connectivity, accessibility and identity of site, as well as enhance environmental quality whilst meeting living demands. Under-established and under-utilised landscapes will change into more intensified places through multiple intervention.


  • Ibrahim, Y. &  Mah, B. T. (2009). A lively and liveable Singapore: Strategies for sustainable growth by Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development. Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources: Ministry of National Development.
    Call no.: SING 333.72095957 SIN
    This report from the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development sets out the blueprint to develop a national framework and key strategies for Singapore’s sustainable development. The four strategies identified are: 1. to improve resource efficiency; 2. to enhance our physical environment; 3. to engage the community and 4. to build up our technologies and capabilities.


  • Ooi, G. L. (2004). Future of space: Planning, space and the city. Singapore: Eastern University Press.
    Call no.: SING 307.1216095957 OOI
    This book provides an insight to the planning and policies initiated to develop Singapore’s urban built environment. Topics covered include the public housing process and space, recreational space, shopping and retail space and public and commercial spaces.


  • Ooi, G. L. (2005). Sustainability and cities: Concept and assessment. Singapore: Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies; Hackensack, N.J. World Scientific Pub.
    Call no.: SING 307.76 OOI
    This book addresses the issue of environmental sustainability for rapidly developing Asian cities, in particular, Singapore. It highlights concerns with environmental degradation, overcrowding, social disruption, inadequate housing infrastructure and services and the ecological impact of urbanisation on air and water quality.


  • Ooi, G. L. & Kwok, K. (1997). City & the state: Singapore’s built environment revisited. Singapore: Oxford University Press for Institute of Policy Studies.
    Call no.: RSING 307.1216 CIT
    This book looks back into Singapore’s past since her independence in 1965 and analyses the urban planning and development strategies that the government has initiated to develop Singapore into a global city-state.


  • Singapore. Ministry of National Development. (2001). Building a 21st century city. Singapore: Ministry of National Development.
    Call no.: RSING 354.095957 SIN
    This publication presents an overview of the responsibilities, mission and objectives of the Ministry of National Development (MND) that are crucial to sustaining Singapore’s economic development. Areas that come under their purview include land use planning, urban redevelopment and building conservation, public housing, the construction industry, parks and greenery and food safety and security.


  • South West Community Development Council (Singapore). (2009). Environment & community plan South West. Singapore: South West Community Development Council.
    Call no.: RSING 363.70525 ENV
    This publication is a 10 year environment and community plan for the South West District. Its five goals (Cool, Green, Clean, Caring and Proactive Communities) aim to “build a home that is clean, green and healthy, a home that is sustainable and populated by people engaged with the community”.


  • Wong, Tai-Chee. (2004). Four decades of transformation: Land use in Singapore, 1960-2000. Singapore: Eastern University Press.
    Call no.: RSING 333.73095957 WON
    This book documents government policy deliberations and changes in land use planning that have transformed Singapore’s urban landscape over the last 40 years. Areas covered include the tranformation of Singapore’s central business district, the transition from physical infrastructure to infostructure, industrialisation, public vs. private housing and the development of recreational spaces.


  • Wong, Tai-Chee, Yuen, B.  & Goldblum, C. (Eds.). (2008). Spatial planning for a sustainable Singapore. Dordrecht; London: Springer in association with the Singapore Institute of Planners, 2008.
    Call no.: RSING 307.1216095957 SPA
    This collection of articles from academics and industry professionals reflects on urban planning reforms and strategies that have impacted Singapore’s sustainable development. Of particular interest is chapter 8, which examines Singapore’s public housing development over the last four decades.


Newspaper Articles


  • HDB launches public exhibition on new housing areas. (2013, August 29). Singapore Government News. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “…the  plans for Bidadari, Tampines North, and Punggol Matilda, will capitalise on their individual distinctive character to bring about a unique identity and living experience. They will build on each estate’s history, distinctive local flavour and features.


  • HDB awards lease contract for 3-MWp solar systems in Singapore. (2013, January 23). SeeNews Renewables. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The solar installations will power 80 residential blocks in the Punggol Eco-Town housing complex in Singapore.”


  • Use of solar panels on HDB blocks has resulted in savings. (2012, November 16). Today. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “… blocks with solar panels installed currently enjoy between S$5 and S$800 in savings per block per month, or up to 5 per cent off prevailing electricity tariff rate…”


  • Report on climate change effects on S’pore expected in 2009. (2008, December 31). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    A team of local and foreign experts is studying possible long-term effects of climate change on Singapore and the findings are expected to be out next year.


  • Government does the math on green push. (2008, July 29). The Business  Times Singapore, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    By the time the government unveils the next Budget in February, it should be much clearer as to where Singapore’s sustainable development journey is headed over the next 10 to 15 years.


  • Next target: Cut energy use. (2008, June 23). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Singapore has to work harder at cutting down energy usage – perhaps by 20 per cent to 30 per cent, as countries around the world increasingly emphasise sustainable development.



  • The West also rises with Jurong East makeover. (2008, April 5). The Business Times Singapore, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    With malls, hotels, offices and entertainment outlets, the sleepy charms of the area around Jurong East MRT Station are poised for a stunning makeover. The place – called Jurong Gateway – will be turned into the biggest regional centre on the island.


  • Roadmap to make S’pore a leading eco-city. (2008, February 29). The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    A government panel will release a 10-year roadmap next year for Singapore to grow its economy in an environmentally sound way, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said yesterday.





  • Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore. (2017, February 15). Home. Retrieved on 27 February 2017 from Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore website:
    CLC was set up to develop Singapore’s expertise on sustainable urban development in areas such as good governance, integrated urban planning, effective resource management, affordable quality housing, efficient transport management and environmental sustainability. CLC constructs research in sustainable urban development, liveability of cities, and environment management, conducts training programmes and workshops for policy makers and promotes linkages with international institutions.


  • Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities, National University of Singapore. (nd.). Home. Retrieved on 27 February 2017 from Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities, School of Design and Environment website:
    “The Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities serves as a platform to develop cutting-edge urban planning and design solutions as well as building technological innovations for high density environments that will be applicable to many cities in Asia and other developing countries. CSAC will complement the efforts at the national level, through the work of Singapore’s Ministry of National Development, to develop appropriate solutions and best practices for more sustainable and liveable cities.” Executive summaries are provided at for several research projects that the Centre is undertaking, such as the following: – Benchmarks, best practices and framework for sustainable urban development and cities – High density threshold studies – Urban space planning for sustainable high density environments.


  • Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore. (2015). Home. Retrieved on 27 February 2017 from Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore website:
    Set up in 2006, SEAS aims to develop Singapore into a regional centre for energy efficiency technologies, through organising trainings, courses, trade missions and conferences in the area of sustainable energy. SEAS helps to facilitate communication between the Government, and the sustainable energy community, and provides networking opportunities for its 80 member companies.


  • Singapore. (2016). Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – A Lively and Livable Singapore: Strategies for Sustainable Growth. Retrieved on 27 February 2017, from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform website:
    This blueprint sets out the strategies and initiatives needed for Singapore to achieve both economic growth and a good living environment over the next two decades. To meet the challenging demands of an expanding population and limited land resources, more efficient use of both renewable and non-renewable resources is vital.


  •  (2015). Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015: Our Home, Our Environment, Our Future. Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of National Development. Retrieved on 27 February 2017, from Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources website:
    An extension of the blueprint outlined in 2009 for a “Lively and Liveable Singapore, one that Singaporeans love and are proud to call home”. The Blueprint of 2015 outlines the following targets- eco-smart endearing towns, a car-lite Singapore, a zero-waste nation, and a leading green economy.


  • Urban Redevelopment Authority (2016,  July 28). Introduction to Master Plan. Retrieved on 27 February 2017, from Urban Redevelopment Authority website:
    The Master Plan is the statutory land use plan which guides Singapore’s development in the medium term over the next 10 to 15 years. It is reviewed every five years and translates the broad long-term strategies of the Concept Plan into detailed plans to guide development. The Master Plan shows the permissible land use and density for developments in Singapore.


Green and Sustainable Architecture

Green and sustainable architecture refers to a building that is designed and constructed to minimise impact on the environment and ensures that the building is resource-efficient (materials, energy, water, space) in its operation and maintenance.

With greater awareness among the masses of the environmental degradation caused by man’s actions, there is a need to ensure that the development of public housing in Singapore does not cause further damage to the environment. To this end, the Housing and Development Board capitalises on green technologies and optimises energy conservation, water management and waste management in developing Singapore’s housing estates.




  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. (1985). Designed for living: Public housing architecture in Singapore. Singapore : Housing and Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 728.1095957 DES
    Published to coincide with HDB’s 25th anniversary, this publication provides a pictorial commentary that documents the transformations in public housing architecture over the last four decades since Singapore attained self-government in 1959. The full-coloured photographs bear testimony to the richness in design variation and HDB’s architectural quality of work.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. Architectural Dept. (1992). Design portfolio: concept + text. Singapore: Architectural Dept., Building and Development Division, Housing and Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 711.5095957 SIN
    This monograph highlights examples of HDB housing and commercial projects, sports complexes, parks and gardens, upgraded precincts and award winning designs such as the Tampines New Town, Simei Neighbourhood Centre and Sin Ming Court.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. Building Group. (2005). Public housing design guide: Principles and practice. Singapore: Housing & Development Board, Building Group.
    Call no.: RSING 711.58095957 PUB
    This publication sets out the guidelines for the design of a precinct within a HDB town, covering the design and safety considerations, structural and foundation guidelines for a block of flats, the design and functional provisions for a flat, requirements and design considerations for the carpark, social and community facilities and landscape design.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. (2006). HDB universal design guide for public housing in Singapore. Singapore: Housing and development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 711.58095957 HDB
    This publication presents the findings and recommendations from HDB’s Universal Design Study Team that was formed in 2005 to review the design of HDB flats. The universal design considerations adhere to HDB’s objectives to build homes for a wide spectrum of people, make them user-friendly, accessible (barrier-free) and are adaptable to individual preferences.


  • Singapore. Housing and Development Board. (2007). Green housing book: HDB’s approach to sustainable development. Singapore: Housing & Development Board.
    Call no.: RSING 720.47095957 GRE
    This publication provides insights to HDB’s approach to environmental sustainable developments, focusing on the areas of environmental quality, energy, water and resources. The last section of the book features HDB’s demo eco-precinct in Punggol, which makes use of environmental features, design strategies and Green Building Technologies to achieve effective management of energy, water and waste.


Newspaper Articles


  • Luxury hotel? No, Singapore’s new-generation public housing. (2015, October 29). CNN Wire. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “We want to plan towns that are well designed, (and) sustainable as well as community-centric…”


  • Dream towns. (2013, September 28). The Straits Times, Life!. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “ Waterfront living and car-free estates are ideas thrown up for Tanjong Pagar and Paya Lebar…”


  • S’pore’s housing board to go big on solar energy. (2013, September 25). Asia News Network. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “The HDB will called its largest solar-leasing tender for a company to own and operate panels on some 125 blocks…The HDB will offset up to 30 per cent of the start-up costs, and, in turn, buy the electricity for 20 years at a 5 per cent or greater discount off the prevailing market price. This electricity would power lights in corridors and common areas, lifts and water pumps, among other things.”


  • HDB’s first eco town tests green solutions. (2012, October 12). The Straits Times. Retrieved from FACTIVA.
    “Punggol town is the latest housing development by Singapore Housing Development Board (HDB)- and the most unique. Dubbed the ‘living laboratory”, the first eco-town in Singapore is planned and developed from scratch with the view of promoting sustainable development through holistic urban planning and design, adoption of green technologies and active community partnership.”


  • group8asia-Aedas design for Punggol homes. (2009, November 12). The Business Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The development, which will be launched in mid-2010, will have about 1,200 mostly four-bedroom apartments and will offer residents an eco-friendly housing experience, HDB said.


  • Resort-style design for waterfront flats. (2009, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    SINGAPORE’S first waterfront public housing project in Punggol will offer 1,200 flats featuring sky terraces, roof gardens and panoramic views of the Punggol Waterway.


  • City planners get NUS on board green drive. (2009, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    The study on sustainable housing may offer urban forms that are new to the public housing scene. For instance, it will consider projects that look into European-style courtyards, to see if that approach works here, said Mr Hoo.


  • Power to the greenies. (2008, November 22). The Straits Times, p. 99. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    This is the first public housing project to win a government award for being environment-friendly…


  • Convenient chutes promote recycling. (2008, October 24). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    …Separate chutes for recyclables will also be installed at the first two projects under the new generation public housing in the regenerated Dawson estate.


  • Next-gen HDB housing to offer greener lifestyles. (2007, October 10). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan delivered this message on growing interest in environmentally sustainable housing at the annual Housing Board awards and public housing seminar yesterday.


  • Going tropical. (2002, March 8). The Business Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    Sustainable architecture is almost non-existent in Singapore. Cheah Ui-Hoon looks at how ‘green’ housing can be encouraged locally.




  • Building And Construction Authority. (2017, January 27). Green Mark Projects. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Building And Construction Authority website:
    Launched in 2005, the BCA Green Mark is a green building rating system for new and existing buildings. To date, it also encompasses schemes for parks, office interiors, landed houses and infrastructures. This website highlights the winners of the BCA Green Mark award for 2005-2009.


  • Building And Construction Authority. (2017, February 6). BCA Green Mark Assessment Criteria and Online Application. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Building And Construction Authority website:
    These slides present the BCA Green Mark criteria for residential buildings, with a set of mandatory requirements and other elective requirements such as energy and water efficiency, environmental protection, indoor enviromental quality and other green features.


  • Building And Construction Authority. (2016, June 29). Sustainable Construction. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Building And Construction Authority website:
    This website provides details on the various methods BCA uses to achieve sustainable construction. These include using alternative and recycled materials for construction to reduce depletion of natural resources and enhance the resilience of Singapore’s construction industry. Five case studies of buildings that were completed using sustainable construction are featured. It also provides links to sustainable construction publications.


  • Building And Construction Authority. (2016, September 5). Legislation on Environmental Sustainability for Buildings. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Building And Construction Authority website: 
    These slides provide an overview of the proposed legislative framework that aims to ensure that the construction and maintenance of buildings minimise the impact on the envrionment. This primarily involves establishing a minimum environmental sustainability standard in the planning, design, construction and operation of building projects.


  • Building And Construction Authority. (2016, December 16). Green Building Masterplan. Retrieved on 27 February, 2017, from Building And Construction Authority website:
    The BCA Green Mark Scheme (green building rating system) formed the basis of the first Green Building Masterplan released in 2004. This second Green Building Masterplan aims to get both the private and public sectors involved and continue building on industry capabilities towards the goal for Singapore to achieve a sustainable built environment by 2030. The third Green Building Masterplan maps out a five-to-ten year strategy to accelerate the ‘greening’ of existing buildings in order to achieve the set target of 80 percent green buildings by 2030.


Accessing National Library Board Singapore Resources

Accessing the Print Materials

You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home ( The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types or language holdings. In both instances, you will also be able to limit your search to specific libraries by clicking on the “limit by branch” option.

To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings

If you wish to search for only materials available in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please always click on the “Limit by Branch” button at the bottom of the page, after you have keyed in your search term. This brings you to a new page whereby you will be able to select the library of your choice. Choose “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library” and select “yes” under the “Display only items available in the selected branch below” and then click on search.

Things to note:

Once you have identified the title that you need, please double-check the following information and write down the necessary info:

i. The “Status” of the item: the item is not available in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.

ii. Double-check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Branch”.

iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please refer to the table below for more information (Note: Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.)

All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

Accessing the Databases

The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.

If you’re having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to for help. The librarian will get back to you within three working days.



Neo Tiong Seng & Sharon Teng
Irene Lim (updated by)


The information in this resource guide is valid as at Feb 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.

Written by Irene Lim