In this term of Government, the Ministry of National Development (MND) will continue the work to make our city and our homes more green, liveable, and sustainable, in order to support the diverse aspirations of Singaporeans today and in the future. But we recognise that COVID-19 has significantly impacted our lives and our livelihoods as well as the way we live, work, and play. Some of these changes are short-term, while others may be permanent structural shifts. Most importantly, we seek to be responsive and agile in tackling these challenges together.
Supporting and Transforming the Construction Sector
The construction sector has been hit hard by COVID-19. One of our immediate priorities is to help the sector restart work safely and smoothly, as quickly as possible. Government agencies have been working hard to help construction and renovation firms restart. We have also provided significant financial support to help our firms tide over this difficult period. This will help preserve industry capacity for us to continue building and improving Singapore.
To help the construction sector to get on a stronger footing post-COVID-19, we will step up the pace of industry transformation to improve productivity. This includes adopting advanced building technologies to allow for cleaner, higher quality, and less manpower-intensive construction. We will drive research, innovation, and digitalisation across the built environment value chain, from construction to property transactions services and facilities management. We will also enhance professionalism at all levels across the sector, to create new and better jobs for Singaporeans, guided by a comprehensive Skills Framework. We will grow local construction and consultancy firms to be industry leaders, which will not only serve Singapore’s own needs, but also to seize opportunities overseas.
Developing Stronger Homes and Communities
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we will continue to take care of Singaporeans’ housing needs. In the near term, we will seek to assist households who are facing difficulties, for example, by allowing more flexibility in mortgage repayments. We are also working hard to ensure that construction projects can resume smoothly, to minimise delays in the completion of our Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. These delays have impacted families who have been waiting for their new homes. We will also monitor the housing market closely and take measures where needed to keep it stable and sustainable.
We will ensure that public housing remains accessible and affordable, especially for young families seeking to own their first home. We will need to keep flats affordable as we inject more public housing in and around the city centre. This will ensure that our public housing estates remain inclusive and vibrant places where residents of different backgrounds can mix and interact.
In line with our efforts to keep public housing inclusive, we will continue to cater to the diverse housing needs of different Singaporeans. For our seniors, we have expanded and enhanced our schemes to help them tap on their flat’s value to supplement their retirement adequacy. We will continue to review and improve these schemes. We will also launch new assisted living flats that will integrate affordable housing with care services, to support seniors with care needs. For lower-income families, we will continue to support them to buy their own flats. For those who are unable to afford home ownership, we will continue to provide highly subsidised public rental housing that is well-integrated with home ownership flats in good living environments. We also regularly review our housing plans and policies to better support various groups of Singaporeans with their housing needs, including multi-generational families, singles, and single parents.
In addition, we will continue to rejuvenate our towns and keep public housing highly liveable, through various upgrading programmes. We will also continue developing our plans to progressively redevelop older HDB towns to keep them vibrant, through the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme. This will be a major and complex undertaking.
We aim to develop “Healthy Towns for all ages”, by planning and designing our HDB towns and estates to better support the physical, social and mental well-being of residents at different life stages. As part of the SG Together movement, we will also broaden and deepen community engagement, by involving residents to contribute ideas, as well as to jointly create plans to refresh and enliven community spaces. Through shared neighbourhoods, public spaces, and experiences, Singaporeans can build stronger bonds and a more united community.
A City in Nature, a Greener Urban Environment
We remain committed to our greening efforts island-wide, to transform Singapore into a City in Nature over the next decade. We will dedicate more nature parks for recreational activities, and protect our nature reserves from the impact of urbanisation. We will conserve more native flora and fauna, introduce more natural landscapes and waterbodies in our gardens and parks, and integrate nature into our urban areas and pathways. By extending and enhancing our natural capital in this manner, Singaporeans will enjoy a higher quality living environment, and have greater access to the benefits of nature on our health and well-being.
Our urban infrastructure will become greener too, as part of our climate change efforts. We are working with the industry and community to roll out the next Green Building Masterplan and raise building sustainability standards. We will encourage the adoption of best-in-class energy performance solutions through the Super Low Energy Buildings programme. We aim to green 80% of our buildings by 2030.
At the town level, we will design new HDB towns for greater environmental sustainability, with plenty of green spaces. For instance, Tengah will have a comprehensive cycling network with dedicated cycling paths on both sides of all roads. It will also feature the first “car-free” HDB town centre where roads will run underground to free up the surface level for people. For existing towns, we will deploy resource-saving and other sustainable initiatives through the HDB Green Towns Programme, including rooftop solar panels for more HDB blocks, smart LED lighting in common areas, and the intensification of greenery in selected multi-storey carparks. We aim to reduce energy consumption in HDB towns by 15% by 2030.
We will develop Jurong Lake District (JLD) as a model sustainable mixed-use district, with smart infrastructure and planning to optimise resources and reduce the carbon footprint, and as a potential platform for urban solution trials and other new opportunities.
Building our City Together
We invite every Singaporean to join us in shaping the future of our city and our home. Earlier this year, we launched our One Million Trees movement with the support of community partners to engage Singaporeans from all walks of life to be stewards of our island’s greenery. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan, gazetted last year, was the product of extensive public engagement.
We will continue to partner the community and industry, as we push ahead to lay the groundwork for major projects. This includes revitalising communities along the Rail Corridor, by working with stakeholders to celebrate the heritage of these areas and to introduce new amenities. We are rejuvenating our Central Business District to ensure that it remains vibrant and relevant, while bringing jobs closer to homes, through growth centres like JLD and Punggol Digital District. Longer-term projects, such as development of the Greater Southern Waterfront and redevelopment of the Paya Lebar Airbase site, will provide future generations more opportunities and new ways to live, work and play.
We are never done improving Singapore. Each generation builds upon the efforts of the previous one. We will work with Singaporeans to build a better home for our generation as well as future generations of Singaporeans.