Why you should take part in ‘Our Housing Conversations’ under Forward S’pore’s Build pillar

The Government wants your opinion on how public housing can work best for you.

But first, we need to ask these pertinent questions: What is the Government’s commitment to Singaporeans on housing? And what are our duties and responsibilities as Singaporeans, towards our families and one another?

“This, in turn, will guide us in deciding how to make good use of our very limited land and resources, as we plan and provide for our housing in the many years ahead,” explained Minister for National Development Desmond Lee during the launch of “Our Housing Conversations” feedback series under the Build pillar of Forward Singapore this past Sunday (Sep 25).  

Source: Desmond Lee facebook

This Build pillar is to transform our living environment, and to build a more liveable home for all who stake their futures here.  

Housing is, at the end of the day, a sanctuary, a place to raise families, an important nest-egg and more, Minister Lee noted.

So, the what, when, how, why and for who to build needs input from Singaporeans.

“Housing policy is really social policy; it is about society, it is about people, it is about their lives, and not just about infrastructure development,” said Minister Lee to the approximately 200 participants at the feedback session.

“It is not just about the building; it is not just about the infrastructure around the state. How we provide housing, both public sector and the private market, they impact people’s lives.”

During this first “Our Housing Conversations” sessions, the participants moved to small breakout discussions.

There, they shared diverse views on public housing policies, how to meet Singapore’s current needs sustainably and how the Government, families and individuals can work together to meet the housing needs and aspirations of Singaporeans during different life stages.

The Government is committed to inclusive and affordable public housing

Source: Desmond Lee Facebook

These views will augment the Government’s commitment to keeping housing estates inclusive and cohesive, even while Singapore becomes more diverse and well-off.

This commitment includes the longstanding Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), which ensures that every neighbourhood practically reflected Singapore’s ethnic diversity.

“You can have programming, you can talk about multi-culturalism, but if in the first place you do not live next to each other, if we do not from time to time suffer those frictions along the way and learn to overcome them and build understanding, what is multi-culturalism in reality then?” Minister Lee pointed out.

The Government’s commitment also comes in the form of the recent Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) for building HDB public housing in very prime and central locations like the city centre and the Greater Southern Waterfront.

This direct Government intervention in the housing market safeguards against the risk of gentrification and stratification.

“If we leave it to the free market, just leave it to market forces, there is no reason to believe that it would be any different from other countries,” said the Minister.

“Some areas will become very central, very exclusive, very gentrified, all the rich people want to live there, developers will respond to that, and then society will change.” 

“So we want to use PLH deliberately to set aside land in those areas, and build public housing and ensure that over the many generations, they remain affordable,” he stated.

What do you hope for your HDB?

More “Our Housing Conversations” are coming; just check and sign up for them on the Ministry for National Development website and social media platforms.

Plus, having these key questions in mind, like they did for the participants last Sunday, can make your feedback richer:

1.      Our Values

a)  Do the values that have underpinned our public housing policies continue to remain relevant? Time pass, things change, are some of these things still relevant?

b)  What are the values that we should reaffirm?

c)  What are some new values that we should really start to embrace?

 2.      Our Priorities

a)  What would be your aspirations and concerns about public housing, and how will they change over your life course, or the life course of your children?

b)  What are our key priorities as a society?

c)  How can we meet the needs of other people at different stages of their lives?

d)  How do we balance the needs of citizens across various life stages, as well as socio-economic background and abilities? 

3.      Our Future

a)  How can we continue to meet our current needs, continue to meet diverse aspirations, while safeguarding land and resources, green and blue spaces, for future generations to enjoy and to use? 

4.      Our Roles and Responsibilities

a)  What are the different roles and obligations of the Government in housing and rehousing a nation going forward into the future?

b)  What about the roles and obligations for individuals and families?

c)  What about the roles and obligations for organisations both private and public, and the people?

Interactive roadshows are also coming, in addition to these added public feedback sessions as part of the Build pillar.

A digital survey launches also on Oct 8 under the overall Forward Singapore banner.

Forward Singapore is an all-of-nation exercise for all of us to come together, examine our values and aspirations, build consensus, and so refresh our social compact for Singapore’s shared future.

FB: Our article has some questions you can ask yourself and the Government.

Cover photo credit: Ivan Yeo/ Unsplash and Desmond Lee Facebook