Psychology Volunteers on Bikes core group Mishka Watin, Edna Lee and Monica Manluluyo went to Singapore last June 23-30, 2014 to learn about the sustainable practices of Singapore and the growth of sustainable development in the country.
The Housing and Development Board of Singapore (建屋发展局) is the country’s public housing authority generally given credit for clearing the slums and squatters of the 1960s and resettling them into low-cost state-built housing projects. As of 2013, approximately 82% of the Singaporeans are benefiting from the public housing provided by the HDB. Aside from meeting the needs of the citizens, HDB’s public housing policies and schemes also support national objectives of maintaining racial harmony, strengthening family ties and focusing on the needs of the elderly and those with financial difficulties.
While our plane was landing at Changi International Airport, what we could see were Singapore’s buildings. They turned out to be apartments – most of those established by the HDB. Due to lack of space, the HDB chose to build high rise flats for the Singaporeans. There were a lot of changes between households in 1960 and the 90s – and we saw these when we visited the HDB Gallery. We were also able to learn about how Singapore’s housing problem was solved within 50 to 60 years. Singapore in 1960 looks very similar to Cebu today, and if they managed go beyond their slum and squatter problems long before massive technological development, then we can also do it.