About the Social Science Research to Foster Positive Community Behaviour

The study is a collaboration between the Municipal Services Office (MSO) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) College of Design and Engineering on fostering positive social norms and values and facilitating community-led solutions in Singapore’s high-density housing environment to improve municipal outcomes.

Supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the National Parks Board (NParks), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the study seeks to understand the perceptions of residents on the role of the community in addressing municipal dis-amenities. As a key thrust under the Forward Singapore exercise to empower Singaporeans to take a greater stake in building an endearing home, the research study also looks at how the Government can better engage residents to foster positive social norms and facilitate community-led solutions to municipal issues. The study will complete in 2H2023.

Toa Payoh East is the intervention site for the study because of its representativeness of other HDB estates in Singapore in terms of demographic and housing types. 

Interim Findings to date 

The study involved surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, pop-up events, culture probes and a co-solutioning workshop involving over 1,400 participants in Toa Payoh East. The study established the following interim findings:

  1. Residents want to make their neighbourhood a better place. There is a positive relationship between residents’ sense of place attachment and positive community behaviour. Residents with a stronger sense of attachment to their homes tend to provide more feedback to the authorities, perhaps due to a desire to build a better living environment. 
  2. Having better relationships with neighbours is related to less inconsiderate neighbour behaviours. Higher levels of neighbourly relations are found to co-relate with lower levels of municipal issues such as littering and noise. Generally, neighbours with better relations have less conflicts and are better able to address conflicts amicably.
  3. Residents generally agree that it would be more effective for the community to work together to co-create solutions, especially when individuals are unable to resolve neighbourhood issues on their own. Existing neighbourhood chats and various community assets, such as volunteers and community-initiated projects can be leveraged for the resolution of neighbourhood issues.

Trial of Integrated Community Platform in Toa Payoh East

Taking into account the findings from the sensemaking efforts, MSO and NUS worked with Toa Payoh East Constituency Office to pilot the Dragon Heart Community Platform - an integrated 3-part intervention platform that provide residents with the opportunity and resources to participate in community-led solutions to municipal issues in the neighbourhood. The 3-part platform consists of the following:

  1. Dragon Idea Bank, an informative website with resources and ideas to address neighbourhood issues, co-solutioning toolkit and case studies of community-led projects to inspire resident co-solutioning,
  2. Dragon Chat on WhatsApp, which allows residents to collect feedback among neighbours, contribute ideas and coordinate meetups for their co-solutioning projects, and
  3. Dragon Carts, three mobile physical carts equipped with desktops, chairs and LED screens. These carts can be placed in neighbourhood areas to be used for group meetings, gather offline feedback from the community and provide a conducive space to promote community collaboration in the neighbourhood.

With the support from Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, the residents of Toa Payoh East Zone 6 has used the Dragon Heart Community Platform to lead a project in addressing the improper disposal of bulky waste in their neighbourhood – which is a key concern to the residents of Toa Payoh East Zone 6.

The Dragon Carts

Dragon Cart 

Dragon Cart 
Dragon Cart 

Dragon Cart 
Dragon Cart 

Find out more about the Dragon Carts here

Press Release: Integrated Community Platform to tackle Municipal Issues piloted in Toa Payoh East

Click here to read the press release article

Useful Resources

Dragon Heart Partners