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Singapore’s HDB Projects: From Unique Landmarks to Just Another Brick in the Wall?

Posted by Jayson Ang on January 12, 2024
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Take a look at this chill spot in Yew Tee. Someone’s gone all out to make it feel like an old-school kampung. It’s all natural, no town council planning involved. It’s simply a place where folks come together. But as you might guess, they’ve been told to pack up and leave.

Now, they aren’t trying to shut down the hangout completely. They just want it to fit the official standards or designs.

Remember those void decks in Holland. There, a mini-library filled with donated books offered free reads for locals. It’s a bummer when cool, community-building projects like these get axed just ’cause someone didn’t like it.

I’m not completely against the idea – I understand why things have to be a certain way.

Having some sort of uniformity, some rules to follow, it’s just necessary. I don’t claim to be a legal expert, but even I can see why someone in charge might worry like:

“Oh no, what if a kid falls off that swing face-first? Or what if someone gets a cut from an old, rusty piece of furniture and catches tetanus? Who’s gonna take the heat for that? Wait, is it us? It’s definitely gonna be us.”

So yeah, I get why we have to tidy up homemade hangouts.

And okay, I’ll admit, looks matter too. Most folks prefer things neat and matching.

(Not me though. I link uniformity with cold, sterile places like hospitals or passport offices. I’m more into graffiti, blinking neon lights, and urban grit. But I guess HDB has to keep things simple and basic to appeal to everyone.)

My worry is that we’ll sway too much towards the common and faceless, turning into a scary urban nightmare of everything being the same.

Back in my day (yeah, I’m at that age where I can say that), our HDB towns felt more like unique villages. Each had a special vibe. Bedok was notorious for its fierce caroms players. Eunos was like a hub for language geniuses. Tiong Bahru? That was practically a martial arts Disneyland, with all sorts of fighting styles on display.

But now, these unique traits have almost disappeared. We’ve got quiet void decks, NTUC and Sheng Siong stores, and kopitiams serving the same predictable dishes everywhere.

While I get the need for standards and catering to the majority’s needs, I’m also afraid we might push it too far. That we’ll end up with neighborhoods blending into each other, lost in a sea of identical blocks.

Let’s hope it never gets to that point.

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

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