To raise industry standards and inspire more creative landscaping, the HDB has launched a guide setting out standards and principles for landscape design in public housing developments.
HDB will now have a landscape guide standard, so that HDB tendered developers will have a baseline to follow, and enhance densely populated environment. -- CNA PHOTO
Facilities like children's playgrounds and adult and elderly fitness corners that meet multi-generation needs, shrubs that direct pedestrian flow without obstructing the view and greenery that covers rest areas and footpaths are some key principles for landscape design in public housing developments.
These facilities are outlined in the new HDB Landscape Guide.
It also chronicles HDB's successes through the years in landscape design.
Dr Maliki Osman, minister of state for national development, said: "More than just verdant greenery, the creative use of landscape design at the precinct, neighbourhood and town levels can enhance the quality of recreational areas, add to community vibrancy and improve the ambient temperature and surroundings."
He added thinking about landscape design early on will ensure landscaped areas are easy to maintain and incur minimal costs.
Greenery is expected to be a key feature in new housing areas like Tampines North and Bidadari.
The HDB said good landscape design is especially important in high-density areas, as it not only provides respite from high-rise surroundings, but also gives a place for the community to bond.
Consultants said the guide will be a useful tool.
Frven Lim, deputy MD of building consultancy services and director (Design) at Surbana, said: "These become base cases and the innovation hence forth will then have to spin further into further explorations and intensifying the concepts. So in general, I think the whole built fabric in Singapore, especially public housing, will be raised to a different bar."
Low Tian Hin, senior principal architect at ADDP Architects, said: "We can take a short cut now and then we can straight away zoom in to the type of trees and shrubs that you want, and help to increase your productivity."
The forum also saw other well-known architects sharing their ideas.
Tan Cheng Siong, architect and founder of Archurban Architects Planners, said: "At the moment, we still have a bit of land that we can use the old model with, but going forward, if we don't have a new thinking then we will be caught with surprises."
Moshe Safdie, architect and principal at Safdie Architects, said: "It's also a change in the way we build, in terms of inventiveness and flexibility… We need to have a much wider range of housing types, we must find a way to create garden spaces at different levels within a development. In other words, it takes more three-dimensional inventiveness."
This involves thinking out of the box to make high-density living more liveable.