Tuesday, November 29, 2011

S'pore can do better than Hong Kong

THE Housing Board stated that the shrinking sizes of flats over the years are due to the need to maximise Singapore's limited land space and adapt to shrinking household sizes. And according to HDB, this does not mean a lower quality of life since the living space per person has actually improved ('Sizes of HDB flats are shrinking. Sizes of households shrinking too'; last Saturday).

What is disappointing is that a number of urban planners The Straits Times spoke to seem to consider this an inevitable trend for high-density city living.

Why is this so? Singapore may be small, but we do not have to go the way of Hong Kong or Tokyo. We are a little red dot that prides itself in coming up with its own unique solutions.

I have seen how tiny the flats are in Hong Kong. The living room sofa often has to double up as a regular bed. And people there do not enjoy going home, because it is so cramped and there is no privacy. As a result, Hong Kongers tend to stay out and return home only to sleep.

If this is going to happen here, how does that improve family life? That surely will mean a decline in the quality of living.

I urge the authorities to think of creative ways to overcome land scarcity and try to at least maintain the floor space of those flats built in the 1980s. Building taller buildings may be one way to go. If the Pinnacle@ Duxton, the pride of HDB, can go up to 50 storeys, why can't future HDB flats be likewise?

Also HDB blocks are now built closer to one another. Please don't build the blocks any closer, or else we will be living bamboo poles apart from our neighbours across the block.

Tham Pui Ying (Madam)