The Impact of the Changes in HDBs Typology on Social Interactions in the Neighborhoods

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Education

Document 1

Housing design can potentially influence the interaction among the inhabitants. Currently, houses are being designed to promote privacy, which has significantly contributed to the changing lifestyle in the society because, with prioritization of privacy, human interaction is limited. This paper, therefore, initiates a review of how the development of housing designs facilitates human engagement and socialization in Singapore. House designs have, therefore, been developed to promote privacy and ease the burden of social problems arising from human interactions. As such, positive traits will be adhered to readily when these methods are adopted. Singapore, for instance, has ninety percent of its population living in public houses due to the increased number of residents and the domestic economy. With new housing designs, these public houses have been designed to foster privacy due to a large number of residents. Primarily, individuals prefer adhering to their privacy to maintain safer and better living standards. Regarding Bauman’s theory on social traits as attributed in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he is considered as one of the postmodernity theorists. Bauman indicated that there is a “dual” nature, which characterizes modernity (66). He suggests; modernity is like a liquid (Bauman 25), change is not permanent and does not offer a lasting solution to housing and social problems in Singapore. Bauman’s point of view on modernization can be related to the case of Singapore; over time, the house designs have been changed to suit the demands of people. The typology of the social space in HBD has initiated a subtle shift and encouraged people to be more private.

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An analysis of the old HDB established in 1960 and the new housing typology of 2015 in Singapore is done to determine how the modernization of HDB has contributed to influence on human interaction and Bauman's concerns on modernization. The co-relation of old and new housing designs in Singapore and analysis to produce a solution of which is the space that potentially produces an excellent platform for social interaction has been drawn in this paper. The research approaches taken to study the impact of design on social interaction include static snapshot, interviews, and spatial design analysis within the common share space inside the HDB area. Static snapshots approach was used to gain an understanding of the metadata concerning human interaction in the older house designs and the current house design from overhead collected static snapshots.

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By using the sample of an old HDB around the Tampines, comparing to the newer HDB design in Tanjong Pagar area, which is the Pinnacle at Duxton and SkyVillage at Dawson to analyze how the common shared space has been used in the past especially in the aforementioned buildings. II. Body Society has undergone substantive evolution from a time when a neighbor was a person with common interest and not necessarily the person who lives next door. Informal interactions in the older society involved relations with friends, peers, relatives, and entertainment, which contributed to their behavior patterns such as speech, body language or humor. These social interactions are what defined the different web patterns and meaning in the society like means of generating income, the trade and government systems, social religion roles, and behavioral expectations about other cultures as well as national boundaries.

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Similarly, the study by Sin examines the segregation created in public housing in Singapore (267). A dissimilarity index is used to establish the even distribution of the population in relation to both isolation and social interaction (Sin 270). According to his study, the members of low-income, the Bedok New Town with Indian background were segregated primarily between 1980 and 1990 due to the public housing channels that restricted people depending on the socio-demographic features. For instance, in certain modern neighborhoods, the likelihood is that the neighbors are all of the same social class, such that individual places are considered either populated by the wealthy, middle class, or the financially challenged. Therefore, the social interactions of such neighborhoods are then limited to the same socio-economic class of people. In the ensuing paragraphs, the discussion will look into evaluating the increasing role that the private sector has played in the construction of the setting that characterizes the modern society.

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When talking about the modern society, the implications include the specific features that differentiate the current socio-economic environment in comparison to the past generations. These include factors such as the increasing advancements being made in the technological world, increased mobility encouraged by agents of globalization, and the slow demise of common values in favor of individuality (Agarwal et al. This means that if a person is not affected by the societal loss, then they have no concern for each other. Furthermore, Bernard suggests that relationships have been virtualized such that people may be neighbors but do not meet on a physical basis, they would instead meet on an online social platform to interact (283). Socializing is an essential aspect in building understanding among people even though technological advances have initiated a significant paradigm shift in how people engage.

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Nonetheless, the shift fails to replace the need for people to interact and share an experience. Social media that comes in as a substitute for social interactions does not adequately initiate a new dispensation on how people engage (Phillips, 48). The changing human interaction in the modern world can be linked to Bauman’s theory of liquidity. Bauman’s philosophy on modernity emphasizes how the society has changed over time (Bauman 90). In comparison to the older society, human relationships are vulnerable to the changes occurring in the world. Bauman suggests in his definition of incompletion as part of modernization that when new aspects arise, they replace the old ones immediately and after a short period, they too, become obsolete – nothing is permanent, change keeps flowing, like a liquid. In other instances, modernity can be related to liquid given the fact that a liquid is associated with uncertainty and randomness (13)- has no specific structure and it gets extinguished over time.

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In this scenario, the role of the organization encompasses the need to promote social values through their designs such that the country does not lose her traditional values by merely adopting modern behaviors. In February 1960, Singapore public housing authority was formed as pointed out by the Singapore National Library Board as well as the Housing and Development Board (HBD) as a successor to Singapore Improvement Trust that was in charge of housing provision. SIT had been established in 1927 by the colonial government to abolish insanitary housing and ensure rehousing homeless people. HDB nearly became a government body. The housing problem worsened as Nichol suggests, over time due to its insufficient building programs and that could not cater for the growing population (57). HDB Floor Plan. There has since been a shift in HBD strategy implementation in regards to the construction of urban cities citing the increase of urban populations who seek employment or education opportunities in the cities of Singapore.

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This has necessitated a desire to change the design for households (Corbusier & Benton, 42). For instance, there is a preference for building high-rise housing units that maximize the utilization of small pieces of land to accommodate a large number of people. Since land is a limited resource for the HDB, they have had to look for ingenious ways to design the expansion of cities. This means that the quality of houses regarding safety built for public tenants is not fit for social interaction that would be possible through quality designs. For example, the lack of outdoor spaces may hinder individuals’ interaction living in shared apartments as opposed to apartments with large common outdoor spaces where a high level of interaction is prevalent. This problem is particularly more worrying among the elderly population.

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Indeed, 87 percent of the older adults live in public houses with only 12 percent preferring private residences. Since most of their children are of adult age, the elderly often prefer these residences because they are capable places of combating isolation. For example, there was too much privatization for individuals (Beng-Huat 18). Many families were confined into their houses which were not diversified. As a result, families barely interacted with other people. The housing sector was also hugely segregative, and members of the same community often lived within similar locations. Undeniably, social interactions within such locales are unhealthy. Similar to heteropia,, transitional places are indefinite two-way organizations which ‘close’ what was left behind and ‘open’ the route to what lies in front, and vice versa(148). Transition space is an intermittent place, that simultaneously reachable and ‘invisible’; it is a fragmented space in which periodic activities are conducted instinctively in intervals amid the fixed spaces of society, which includes work places, places of leisure and rest.

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Even so, despite being assumed to be ‘corridor place’ for folks’ utilization, it contains the liminal places of transition and passage (Luz 148). The corridors have been reduced to create an extension of the living room has been according to the provisions of the state policy to constitute an ideal family unit in the HDB apartment which enhances and sustains private space. The corridors size has also been shortened such that specific corridors serve several floors at the same time instead of common corridors being placed on every floor. Because of the break in the floor plan, the threshold moved. Dogma was created by the shifting of the outwards of the inside. It is vital to concentrate on the safety and the plan of the threshold of the control spaces. Indeed, obscuring the margin between the inside and the outside is the aim.

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Further discussion about the idea of transitional space by observing the typical shared space in the HDB, will be described and reflect in the analysis of the following paragraph. The usage of the shared space was unable the resident to have flexible activities and interaction, in this case, the critical consideration of having a sufficient transitional space seeks to complement the design of the public hall In the view of many, appreciating the metropolis as a human event rather than a permanent structure of urban designs is the future of urbanization. Indeed, people expect cities to the center of the spontaneous usage of different activities and services which are heavily used by passersby. Urban spaces should be located there people can create and nature relations among themselves at different levels while at the same time remaining utterly anonymous (Luz 152).

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Figure 3. Everton Park, Tanjong Pagar (35 years old, mid-old) By the other old design observations at Block 450A, in the area of Tampanies, it has been observed that the resident’s were maximizing the use of the corridor. In that sense, the openness of design takes a big part about the physical interaction on neighbors. From the interviews, its draw some new insight where generally, the kids are the reason why parents start their conversations with each other. This automatically leads them to know each other’s background. As such, the kids form a basis for enabling parents to interact with each other. In comparison to one of the newest HDB around Tampines area, with the condo-like design, was Block 519A-central had been the latest version adopted. The design of this HBD incorporates the use of corridors representing a common shared space.

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The common shared space of this new HDB design has been very instrumental in helping people to interact with one another, therefore, creating the required social hub in the vicinity of SkyVille. This modern HDB design contains some very favorable shared spaces such as the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden, indicated in Figure 10, is one of the features of the new design and has been critical in enhancing the idea of Kampong Life. Kampong contains many people from various walks of life and diverse racial backgrounds (Authority 6). Unsurprisingly, meeting neigbours often helps to improve the social interactions within public residences. This is because when we see each other often, we are encouraged to greet each other and even approach the other party. As such, the interaction level is improved and positively enhanced.

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Public gradens have become a forum whre neigbours can meet and interact. Maintaining them requires the attention of all the neigbours, and this ultimately promotes unity. Activities around void decks and common corridors at SkyVille at Dawson. An example of design, which shows the importance of transitional area was reflected on the new HDB design adopted in 2005, at the Pinnacle in Duxton. Technically, this HDB has a condo style specifically designed to improve the accessibility of the house. The Pinnacle HDB design has also incorporated the idea of having a Sky garden, designed into the 50-storey public housings. The buildings have four houses on each of the floors. Figure 3. Community Centre at The Pinnacle at Duxton. The smart features of these two examples; the Pinnacle at Duxton and the WOHA has undeniably established a thoughtful environment for the community, whereas they both started to push the element of the community from the ‘ground’ to further up to the higher level.

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They implement an excellent design solution of “pushing upward community. ” It because back then HDB was used to be designed in 12-storey only, nowadays it appeared to even higher in the design. The more frequent we tend to see our neighbors affects our social interaction levels as it encourages us to be greeting each other and even approach the other party (Phillips 106). As such, the interaction level is improved and positively enhanced. A precise analysis of the feedback obtained from the research showed that social interaction and a sense of community has progressively been lost over the years as the housing patterns changed. The impressive impact of this changing situation is that the new generation keeps moving out from the old HDB to the newer design, it is because there is not enough flexibility for the whole flat to keep up with the changing lifestyle.

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This can be reflected with the Metabolism movement. Additionally, a raised veranda was included within the house, to accommodate guests and anybody that was not known, and maintain the residents’ privacy. The houses were also decorated in accordance to the owner’s requests, and also the sub ethnic group style in the region. The inclusion of the verandas to entertain guests created privacy boundaries and exclusion of other people and so did the decoration of the houses according to the ethnic and sub ethnic groups. Overall, kampong houses needed a lot of maintenance since they were made of bamboos and timba(Said 2008, 131). An argument has been made; the HDB typology in Singapore is designed in such a way they are to structuralize programmatically, contrast with the idea of ‘kampong house’ which has more organic in terms of the design, in that sense the kampong house gives an idea of blurring the both private and public boundaries and produce a greater sense of community inside.

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’ suggests that the arenas where everyday routines are carried out should be designed in such a manner that it creates an atmosphere for social interaction (379). His research shows that spatial planning should include public spaces at night to promote urban conviviality in global cities. The urban conviviality is as a result of diverse cultures, activities as well as the materiality demands and desires which are common night issues. This is because the current trend in the global world regarding designing and planning has shifted from the provision of mere resilient and liveable public spaces to a form of “co-presence” (391). Therefore, the everyday plural lives intersection of public spaces neighborhood is considered to be the foundation of spatial planning that will provide an inclusive experience as well as convivial engendering. According to Bauman, the present time is known as the liquid modernity period and is characterized by rapid transformations taking place in human life.

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These transformations are not permanent but rather transitory (7). The Modernization of the HDB designs relates Bauman’s concept given that they have changed from establishing communal living to fostering privacy given the desires of the government and the demands of people. The relationship between an individual and the society is, therefore, changing due to the increased controversial search for identity within the society – HDB house designs promote this concept since they promote privacy and minimize interdependence. Individuals are the liquid elements of modernity, and they are charged with their responsibility owing to the free choices they make especially with the changing fashion. For example, availing free Internet services within the shared spaces would attract more people to visit these places. This will enable their ability to interact at one point or another while at these places.

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Design should, however, be restructured in a manner that sustainable living is enhanced as well as private space, however, communal spaces for interaction should be set aside for community bonding. For vertical flats, common corridors should be considered to encourage default interaction with neighbors and their children. A precise analysis of the feedback obtained from the research showed that social interaction and a sense of community belonging has progressively been lost over the years as the housing patterns changed. As such, the increase of outdoor social platforms such as playing fields, which are sometimes under the management of private firms, becomes the norm. The current public housing in Singapore is innovative and promotes enhanced living conditions, however little focus on the flexibility of the communal interaction was placed due to some factors such as location, orientation, organization, entry, and living.

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The housing design maximizes the space for construction such that the entry is smaller, and the homes have modest sizes due to the well defining area that the property fits. Therefore, no social interaction is encouraged due to space limitations and the need for privacy.

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