Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on whether the COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on the future designs of HDB flats
Sep 4, 2020
Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on the future designs of HDB flats such as provision for spaces to work from home and, if not, whether HDB will consider factoring such considerations into future flats.
HDB flats are designed to provide a living environment that is functional and comfortable. For instance, bedrooms are built with large windows to optimise natural lighting and ventilation, while kitchens are designed to be open to increase the sense of spaciousness within the flat.
HDB flats are also designed to provide flexibility for residents to reconfigure spaces in their homes to meet their needs. For example, columns in new flats are pushed to the edges wherever possible, so that home owners can have more flexibility in reconfiguring their home layout.
These design principles came in useful during the circuit breaker when residents had to work from home and students had to undergo home-based learning.
Beyond flats, HDB has also over the years introduced more greenery, and play and fitness equipment to enhance the living environment in our precincts and neighbourhoods. These extended living spaces give our flat dwellers a respite from the confines of their homes while seeking to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Commercial amenities such as supermarkets and eating houses have also been planned to be within easy walking distance from homes.
We are studying how HDB flat designs can support developments in the future of work, including trends that may have been accelerated by the current pandemic, such as telecommuting. Today, broadband for Wi-Fi ready connections is already available in all public housing flats, facilitating working and studying from home. HDB is also trialing ‘smart-enabled’ homes in Punggol Northshore and Tengah so that residents can adopt more smart applications. If feasible, we will incorporate these features into future designs. We will also continue to gather views and ideas to improve the design of public housing to better meet residents’ needs, as part of the Emerging Stronger Conversations.