Estate Renewal Strategy



Estate renewal is one of the key emphases of public housing in Singapore.1 It enables residents in older precincts to enjoy new facilities without uprooting from existing homes, thus keeping communities intact.2 In addition, improving the condition of older flats and their surroundings to a standard comparable to newer estates helps to preserve the asset value of the flats.3 Introduced in September 1995, the Estate Renewal Strategy (ERS) is a comprehensive and coordinated approach to estate renewal in Singapore.4 The ERS comprises various upgrading programmes and the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) that enables the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to acquire older flats for redevelopment.5

Background
By the late 1980s, the government had noticed a marked contrast between the older and newer blocks of public housing in Singapore, such as those in Toa Payoh versus the new Bishan estate nearby.6 Steps were then taken to rejuvenate the older estates to bring them on par with the newer towns. This marked the beginning of estate renewal programmes, starting with the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) unveiled in July 1989.7

By 1995, an array of upgrading programmes was underway. The ERS was then introduced by the HDB in September to consolidate these programmes, so that the refurbishment of older estates could be done in an integrated and systematic manner.8 In the same year, Toa Payoh town centre became the first to undergo extensive refurbishment, and it was transformed into a modern commercial hub with an air-conditioned and integrated bus-cum-MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) interchange.9

The initial programmes under ERS comprised the MUP, Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP), SERS, as well as other improvements for older estates such as modernising town centres, adding or upgrading community facilities and improving road and transportation networks.10 The Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) was subsequently launched in 2001, and was brought under the IUP Plus upon its introduction in 2002.11 In August 2007, the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) were launched, which replaced the MUP and IUP Plus respectively.12 While the HIP focuses on improvements within the flat, the NRP concentrates on enhancements to the neighbourhood.13

Main Upgrading Programme and Home Improvement Programme
Main Upgrading Programme
Unveiled in July 1989, the MUP was an ambitious plan to refurbish the older public-housing estates, covering improvements to the flats, blocks and precinct areas.14 Targeted at blocks more than 20 years old, improvements within the flats included upgrading toilets and repairing spalling concrete to extend the flats’ lifespan. For some flats, residents were also offered the option of adding about 6 sq m of space to their units.15 Improvements to blocks and precincts entailed replacement of older facilities and introduction of new amenities, such as upgrading of lifts and lift lobbies, construction of drop-off porches and walkways, as well as the replacement of surface carparks with multistorey ones to free up outdoor spaces for greenery and recreational facilities.16

To ensure affordability, a large share of the upgrading cost was borne by the government, with flat owners bearing 10 to 25 percent of the total cost, depending on the flat type. The MUP would be implemented in a precinct when at least 75 percent of the flat owners agreed to the programme.17

The MUP’s pilot phase began in 1991. Upgrading works were carried out on four vacant blocks in Teban Gardens and Woodlands, so as to help HDB fine-tune the programme.18 The MUP then progressed to the demonstration phase involving 6,000 flats in the following year. Following its popularity during the demonstration phase, the MUP entered a steady-state phase thereafter, until it was replaced by the HIP in 2007.19 The MUP came to a close in 2012, when all works under the programme were completed in the last outstanding precinct in Ang Mo Kio.20

Home Improvement Programme
The HIP focuses on addressing common maintenance problems within ageing flats. The scheme comprises essential improvements, as well as a range of optional items that flat owners can choose to include. Essential improvements are those deemed necessary for health, safety or technical reasons, such as replacement of waste pipes, repair of spalling concrete, upgrading of electrical load and installation of laundry racks. The optional items include replacement of refuse chute hoppers, entrance doors and gates, and the upgrading of toilets.21

Currently, HDB flats built in 1986 or earlier and have not undergone the MUP are eligible for the HIP.22

The HIP is more flexible and affordable than the MUP.23 For the optional items, residents pay 5 to 12.5 percent of the cost, depending on their flat type.24 The essential improvements, on the other hand, are fully funded by the government.25 The programme is implemented in a block if at least 75 percent of the flat owners in the block vote in favour of it.26

Since July 2012, more optional improvements catered to the elderly have been made available under HIP.27 Known as Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE), the additional options include ramps, grab bars and slip-resistant treatment to toilet floor tiles. Commencing 15 March 2013, the improvements under EASE are extended to all HDB flats, including those that do not qualify for HIP.28

Interim Upgrading Programme
To speed up the estate renewal process in Singapore, the IUP was introduced in 1993 to focus on upgrading the younger estates that were not yet eligible for the MUP.29 Unlike the MUP, upgrading works under the IUP were confined to blocks and precinct areas, with no improvements carried out within flats. The improvements included new coats of paint for blocks, new lift lobbies, modern playgrounds, covered walkways and study corners.30

The cost of the IUP was fully borne by the government.31 Like the MUP, the IUP would be implemented in a precinct only if at least 75 percent of the flat owners supported the programme.32

The IUP was first implemented at a precinct in Marsiling Drive comprising six blocks of flats. The improvements included new lift lobbies, a small amphitheatre, covered walkways linking the blocks, and drop-off points for each block.33

Lift Upgrading Programme
HDB blocks built before 1990 were not provided with lift access on every floor, so as to meet residents’ demand for privacy. Today, however, residents prefer lifts on every floor for more convenient access to homes, especially for the elderly, disabled and families with young children.34

Prior to 2001, lift upgrading was part of the MUP and IUP.35 However, residents typically had to wait for a long time before their blocks were selected for the MUP. For the IUP, its limited budget often led to trade-offs between the costly lift upgrading and other types of improvement works.36 Hence, a separate lift upgrading programme – the LUP – was introduced in March 2001 to provide lift access on every floor in HDB blocks built before 1990, wherever technically feasible.37

Similarly, the LUP is implemented when the programme receives at least 75 percent support from flat owners in the block.38 The majority of the cost is borne by the government, with flat owners paying up to S$3,000, depending on the flat type and block configuration.39

To prepare for a rapidly ageing population, the LUP has been accelerated and it is targeted for completion by 2014.40

On 10 September 2014, the HDB announced the introduction of a new Selective Lift Replacement Programme to replace some 750 old lifts that lack certain safety and security features available in modern lifts. Installed between 1987 and 1997, these lifts do not require upgrading under the LUP.41

Interim Upgrading Programme Plus
The IUP Plus was unveiled in May 2002 and it combined two programmes: the IUP and LUP. The LUP continued to exist at the same time as a standalone programme for HDB blocks not eligible for the IUP Plus. The IUP, however, was discontinued when the IUP Plus was introduced. The objective of the IUP Plus was to enable both lift upgrading and interim improvement works to be carried out concurrently, thus providing greater convenience for the residents.42

Under IUP Plus, the interim upgrading works were fully funded by the government, and polling of flat owners on their support for the programme was not required.43 Polling and co-payment arrangements for the lift upgrading component were the same as those under the LUP.44

The IUP Plus was discontinued in 2007 with the introduction of the NRP.45 It came to a close in 2011 with the completion of all upgrading works under the programme.46

Neighbourhood Renewal Programme
The NRP was introduced in August 2007, and it focuses on block and neighbourhood improvements. A key feature of the programme is the active engagement of residents to collectively decide on the improvements for their neighbourhoods through dialogues and town-hall forums.47

HDB blocks eligible for the NRP include those built in 1989 or earlier, and have not undergone the MUP, IUP or IUP Plus. From 1 April 2015 onwards, the programme will be extended to include blocks built in or prior to 1995.48

Fully funded by the government, the NRP is implemented on a larger area of two or more neighbouring precincts when support from at least 75 percent of the residents is garnered.49

The first NRP project was completed in 2011 at Bukit Batok. Developed based on residents’ feedback, it features a sports hub to serve as a community focal point and has a range of facilities for different age groups.50

Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme
Launched in August 1995, SERS enables HDB to optimise land use by demolishing old blocks of flats to give way to new developments. Flat owners affected by the redevelopment are given compensation packages and assured allocation of new HDB units nearby to preserve community ties.51 Affected residents are required to vacate their existing flats only after the replacement flats are ready.52

The first cluster of HDB blocks selected for redevelopment under SERS was located at Boon Tiong Road in Tiong Bahru. Built in 1952, the 16 affected four-storey blocks with 384 three- and four-room units were demolished to make way for 1,402 four- and five-room flats.53

Remaking Our Heartland
Remaking Our Heartland is an initiative to regenerate HDB estates beyond the scale and scope of the ERS. Unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally in August 2007, it is a key effort by the HDB to transform HDB estates of all ages into more vibrant homes for Singaporeans.54

Punggol, Yishun and Dawson were the first three areas selected for makeovers under the Remaking Our Heartland initiative. The focus for the new Punggol estate is on realising its vision as a “waterfront town of the 21st century”. Remaking plans for Yishun, a middle-aged estate, include revitalising the town centre and introducing more outdoor family facilities. Developed in the 1960s and 1970s, the old Dawson estate in Queenstown is being transformed into a new generation of public housing with sky gardens, community greens and multigenerational living; heartland heritage is retained where possible and integrated with new developments.55



Author
Cheryl Sim



References
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2. Niam, C. M., & Keung, J. K. Y. (2004). Improving the hardware, retaining the heartware – the Singapore way to sustainable housing, p. 9. Retrieved from Hong Kong Housing Authority website: https://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/hdw/ihc/pdf/ihc04hd.pdf
3. Tay, K. P. (2008, June). The twin pillars of estate rejuvenation. Retrieved from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/World%20Cities%20Summit/Pages/05The%20Twin%20Pillars%20of%20Estate%20Rejuvenation.aspx
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34. Housing and Development Board. (2014, January 14). What is Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP). Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10328p.nsf/w/UpgradeWhatsLUP?OpenDocument
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36. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1997, July 28). Estimates of expenditure for the financial year 1st April, 1997 to 31st March, 1998 (Vol. 67). Singapore: Govt. Printer, cols. 1069–1071. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
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38. Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 168. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
39. Housing and Development Board. (2014, October 2). Cost & subsidy for Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP) Plus. Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10328p.nsf/w/UpgradeIUPCostSubsidy?OpenDocument#SC
40. Tay, K. P. (2008, June). The twin pillars of estate rejuvenation. Retrieved from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/World%20Cities%20Summit/Pages/05The%20Twin%20Pillars%20of%20Estate%20Rejuvenation.aspx; Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 176. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
41. Housing and Development Board. (2014, September 10). HDB enhances upgrading programmes to benefit more homes and improve living environment in HDB towns [Press release]. Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10296p.nsf/PressReleases/D717BC5486245C1548257D50000D9C56?OpenDocument
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43. Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 168. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
44. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (2002, May 20). Estimates of expenditure for the financial year 1st April, 2002 to 31st March, 2003 (Vol. 74). Singapore: Govt. Printer, col. 1696. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
45. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (2002, May 20). Estimates of expenditure for the financial year 1st April, 2002 to 31st March, 2003 (Vol. 74). Singapore: Govt. Printer, col. 1696. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
46. Housing and Development Board. (2012). HDB annual report 2011/2012. Singapore: Author, p. 53. Retrieved from Housing and Development Board website: http://www10.hdb.gov.sg/ebook/ar2012/main.html
47. Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 169. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
48. Housing and Development Board. (2014, September 11). What is Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP). Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10328p.nsf/w/UpgradeWhatsNRP?OpenDocument; Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 169. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
49. Housing and Development Board. (2014, September 11). What is Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP). Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10328p.nsf/w/UpgradeWhatsNRP?OpenDocument; Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 169. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
50. Housing and Development Board. (2011, December 2). First HDB’s Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) project completed by Jurong Town Council [Press release]. Retrieved from HDB InfoWEB website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10296p.nsf/PressReleases/94463FE54620D24E4825795A0005B792?OpenDocument
51. Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, pp. 169, 172. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER)
52. Tay, K. P. (2008, June). The twin pillars of estate rejuvenation. Retrieved from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/World%20Cities%20Summit/Pages/05The%20Twin%20Pillars%20of%20Estate%20Rejuvenation.aspx
53. Williams, A. (1995, August 23). Tiong Bahru flats first in redevelopment scheme. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
54. Fernandez, W. (2011). Our homes: 50 years of housing a nation. Singapore: Published for the Housing and Development Board by Straits Times Press, p. 177. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 FER); Housing and Development Board. (2008). HDB annual report 2007/2008. Singapore: Author, p. 37. Retrieved from Housing and Development Board website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10221p.nsf/Attachment/AR0708/$file/HDB%20AR%202008.pdf
55. Housing and Development Board. (2008). HDB annual report 2007/2008. Singapore: Author, pp. 37–38. Retrieved from Housing and Development Board website: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10221p.nsf/Attachment/AR0708/$file/HDB%20AR%202008.pdf





Further resources
National Library Board Singapore. (2014). Estate Renewal Strategy is introduced. Retrieved from HistorySG.

National Library Board Singapore. (2014). Lift Upgrading Programme is introduced. Retrieved from HistorySG.

National Library Board Singapore. (2014). Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme is introduced. Retrieved from HistorySG.



The information in this article is valid as at 10 November 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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Nature
Nature and Environment
Streets and Places
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