Relocation and high-rise living : a study of Singapore's public housing
Public housing in Singapore is one of the most significant development programmes in the state. It has been centrally planned and implemented by the Government not only to tackle housing problems and rebuild the decaying inner city areas, but also to restructure Singapore society in terms of the visions of the power elite. This study attempts to examine the social and political implications of relocation and public housing in Singapore, and to analyse the difficulties faced by and the impact of relocation on individuals and families from the various constrasting groups of relocatees, with an emphasis on problems of economic hardship, adaptation to high-rise living, and neighbourliness in the public housing estates. To achieve this task, three types of material have been used, viz. official data, empirical material from previous studies, and empirical data and information collected during fieldwork. The fieldwork comprises a sample survey of 1,200 households and an in-depth study of 27 relocated families. The thesis consists of three parts. The first part reviews the literature on relocation and public housing and the conceptual framework employed in their study. The second part examines the policies underlying and the salient social and political aspects of relocation and public housing in Singapore. The final part analyses the data and information obtained from the sample survey and the in-depth study. The findings of the present study show that while the Singapore Government has made some impressive quantitative achievements of its public housing programme, some of its original objectives may never be fully achieved. Two of the eight hypotheses deduced from the assumptions and observations of the previous studies are refuted by data obtained from the present study. Five of them are however supported, and one is inconclusive. Some sensitive issues relating to public housing in Singapore, which have significant social and political effects and yet are usually avoided by most researchers, are also analysed and discussed in the light of their policy implications.