When it comes to global liveability rankings, Singapore consistently features on top – so what makes this city so liveable?
Director Bob Perry and Urban Design Leader, Dajon Veldman have just returned from Singapore, as guests of the Housing Development Board (HDB), to research Bob’s keynote presentation on this topic for the HDB PEAK Forum in September.
Without question, the overall architectural presence of Lebskind’s ‘Reflections’, OMA’s ‘Interlace’ and Foster’s ‘South Beach’ towers are standouts when visiting Singapore. Looking closely (or as far as security will permit) it appears that in the relentless struggle for exclusivity – realised through a gated community model – these projects have very poor connections to the ground and overall context. Nevertheless, the towers are exciting and add to the charisma of the city skyline.
What’s more striking is the diversity seen within the high density housing initiatives by the HDB. Comparatively, these developments are permeable and the option for open space is celebrated rather uniquely. The open balcony and veranda connections along with the complete absence of security barriers gives these buildings a style that is peculiar to the tropics and bodes well for the social connectivity that is increasingly important in healthy, liveable cities.
Bob and Dajon were lucky to visit the almost complete SkyVille @ Dawson by WOHA and nearby SkyTerrace bySCDA Architects, both examples of HDB’s exploration of the future of affordable housing with a particular focus on community, variety and sustainability. Similarly, Pinnacle @ Duxton, designed by ARC Studio + Urbanism, is a spectacular development comprising 7 towers of 50 floors linked by sky bridges and gardens.
Singapore’s recent philosophy of linking towers with gardens is revealing a new cityscape experience with towers and slots framing vistas, dramatising and making more intimate, the spaces between dense neighbourhoods.
The HDB PEAK Forum in September offers an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the diversity and quality of high-density housing initiatives brought to the fore by the HDB and ultimately their impact on the liveability of this city. We look forward to sharing more of Bob’s insights following the event in September.