The most distinctive feature of the Singaporean housing system has been the implementation of its large scale public housing programme. (Yeung 1983; Castells et al. 1988). In less than thirty years, the government has produced a housing stock of more than 750 000 dwelling units providing accommodation for some 86 per cent of its population. Moreover, in contrast to Hong Kong, which has also had a major programme of public housing provision, the majority (81 per cent) of the public flats in Singapore is owner occupied. No other industrialised country, in Asia or elsewhere, has combined so much public provision with so much private and individual ownership.
The main challenge addressed in this chapter is the unpacking of the formulation and working of a housing policy system in Singapore that has been designed in such a way as to be based in all respects on the involvement of the public sector. It examines the extensive public housing programme and articulates the delivery system of public housing as it has evolved in post-independence Singapore. It will also discuss the emerging issues and challenges of meeting changing housing needs.
The city state of Singapore is located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. It is the smallest country in Southeast Asia with a land area of 648 sq km and a population of 3.86 million. Within its limited land area, the spatial needs of the city, the nation and its population have to be accommodated. Unlike many of its Asian neighbours, Singapore