DPM Heng Swee Keat at the HDB Designing for Life Webinar

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 15 October 2020

Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the HDB Designing for Life Webinar on 15 October 2020.



A very good afternoon.

I am happy to launch HDB’s refreshed roadmap for the coming decade – ‘Designing for Life’.

The ‘Designing for Life’ roadmap is timely, as COVID-19 has made us see our home in a new light.

For many, home has become a sanctuary from the pandemic. For some, home is increasingly a space for work. For all, home is where we bond with our loved ones.

Our housing situation today has come a long way from the crowded squatter settlements of early Singapore.

Sixty years ago, HDB was set up to resolve a housing crisis.

In 1964, the Home Ownership for the People scheme was introduced for Singaporeans to own their homes.

HDB has since built over a million flats and transformed our heartlands into modern and vibrant towns.

Today, 8 in 10 Singaporeans live in HDB flats, with 90% of them owning the home they live in.

We will continue to keep HDB flats accessible and affordable for all, and we will also continue to upgrade and rejuvenate our estates, so that they remain vibrant and liveable.

Standing at Dawson

I am standing before you at Dawson estate. Dawson Estate has a rich history.

It was developed in the 1950s by the Singapore Improvement Trust, HDB’s predecessor. 

In 2007, Dawson underwent a major facelift.

It is now a much more vibrant estate, with striking architecture.

Set within lush greenery, the estate has many features such as green terraces and roof gardens. It’s like living in a park.

The thoughtful heritage storyboards along Alexandra Canal Linear Park help residents appreciate the heritage of Dawson.   

Newer housing projects in Dawson estate have gained international recognition for innovation in housing design.

And many of the new HDB developments in the last decade have also won accolades. 

This is the story of Singapore – celebrating our past, rejuvenating the present, and building for the future.

Building for the Future

The task of building Singapore never ends.

As Singaporeans’ lifestyles and aspirations evolve, we must continue to provide a home and quality living environment for Singaporeans at every stage of their lives.

Designing for Life: Going Forward

HDB has a vision to further improve the living environment for Singaporeans.

HDB has developed a new blueprint called the ‘Designing for Life’ roadmap. Why “designing for life”?

HDB is committed to designing and building a flat that meets your needs at each stage of your life, and to provide you with a home, for life.

Going beyond the four walls of your flat, this roadmap has three pillars – Live Well, Live Smart, Live Connected.

Live Well

Let me start with living well. HDB will be taking a people-centric approach to anticipate the physical, social and mental well-being needs of our residents.

HDB seeks to build ‘Healthy Towns for All Ages’.

You can look forward to more opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles, stay active, and build community bonds.

With an ageing population, HDB will be creating a safer and more inclusive living environment for our seniors in new developments and through upgrading of existing HDB spaces, such as our EASE programme.

For residents of all ages, more facilities will be available to help maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

New neighbourhood centres will be conceptualised as Social and Wellness Hubs.

These hubs will feature community spaces, green pockets, healthy food options and more health and wellness shops.

Live Smart

Let me now turn to living smart. As Singapore moves towards our vision of a “Smart Nation”, HDB will, over the next few years, make this real for you.

Imagine sensor-enabled estate lighting that responds to weather condition, brightening when lighting conditions are poor; cooling fans that automatically adjust their speed in response to temperature and human traffic; intelligent homes where residents can monitor energy consumption patterns with their smartphone; and smart parking that doesn’t require gantries or coupons.

By living smart, we can also live sustainably and protect our environment.

Over time, HDB will introduce greener sources of energy like solar panels, add more greenery in your estates, such as community gardens, the use of sensors and data for pre-emptive maintenance will reduce energy consumption.

And further cool your homes by using external wall paint that reduces heat absorption.

The first of these smart and sustainable precincts, in the Punggol Northshore district, will be completed later this year.

HDB will also be introducing some of these smart features in selected BTO projects in Tengah and other parts of Punggol.

Live Connected

The third pillar of the roadmap is to live connected.

Beyond building houses and towns, HDB aims to build homes and communities, where people bond with one another, live together, and grow together.

Integrated developments, such as Kampung Admiralty in Woodlands and Oasis Terraces in Punggol, bring added convenience to seniors, with facilities such as polyclinics and active ageing hubs.

Common spaces are also designed to promote inter-generational bonding, such as co-locating childcare and senior centres at Kampung Admiralty.

These projects were developed in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and partner agencies. And HDB will continue to improve how our integrated developments are designed and operated.

More of such integrated developments are in the pipeline.

Come next year, the new Bedok South Horizon will be integrated with the Siglap Community Centre and care facilities for seniors. 

Parc Residences @ Tengah, a new BTO development within Tengah’s Park District, will be integrated with a neighbourhood centre and polyclinic. It will also have a social and wellness hub, to encourage community bonding and active living.

Residents can also look forward to playing a bigger role in shaping their living environment. Common spaces will be safeguarded within the towns for the community to come together, and create their preferred social spaces and facilities.

HDB will also be piloting this initiative at selected new housing developments, including SkyResidence@Dawson and Tampines GreenVerge.

In the coming months, HDB will also be inviting you to participate in efforts to rejuvenate Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Chua Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio under the Remaking Our Heartland programme.

Designing with You

Live Well, Live Smart and Live Connected. These are the three pillars of HDB’s refreshed roadmap for the future. I encourage you to visit the ‘Designing for Life’ online exhibition to find out more.

I have highlighted HDB’s plans. HDB would like to hear from you and work with you, to turn this roadmap into reality.

In the spirit of Singapore Together, each of us can do our part to make our estates better and to build a brighter future for Singaporeans.


Over the decades, Singapore grew rapidly from mudflats to metropolis.

The transformation of Dawson shows how far we have come as a nation.

Our mission to rejuvenate our towns and our estates will never end.

As we start a new decade, the newly launched “Designing for Life” blueprint will enable HDB to better meet your needs at each stage of your life, throughout life. 

I invite all of you to join us on this journey to live better, smarter and be more connected. 

Thank you.