HDB announces new ‘smart town’ framework

A “Smart HDB Town Framework”, which maps out how the Housing and Development Board (HDB) aims to introduce the “smart” element in HDB towns and estates, was announced on Thursday (Sep 11).

In a press release, HDB CEO Dr Cheong Koon Hean said that HDB’s “next exciting step” is to embark on the development of the Smart HDB Town.

“We want to leverage on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to make HDB towns and estates more liveable, efficient, sustainable and safe for our residents,” said Dr Cheong.

In the framework, HDB said it will focus on four aspects – smart planning, smart environment, smart estate and smart living.


HDB said it aims to use computer simulation and data analytics to help with the planning and designing of towns, and to “derive optimal and cost-effective solutions to achieve sustainability goals”.

The technologies used include a Complex Systems Modelling Tool that HDB said can help assess the effectiveness of initiatives, such as solar energy. This information will be used to study the trade-offs when introducing new sustainable features in towns, and will be used to guide decision making.

The Smart Car Park monitors and avails unutilised season parking lots to visitors. (Photo: HDB)

Another tool is Smart Car Parks, which features a parking demand monitoring system that can adjust the number of lots for visitors during non-peak hours.


HDB said this will involve linking estates with a network of sensors that will capture information on environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, to improve the living environment for residents.

HDB aims to use smart fans to improve comfort for residents. (Photo: HDB)

One example HDB listed is the use of “Smart Fans”, which will automatically switch on when certain temperatures and levels of humidity are reached.


HDB will collect and analyse data to optimise maintenance cycles and pre-empt problems, such as by monitoring lift usage to detect potential problems, to improve estate services.

Waste level patterns are studied to optimise the waste collection process. (Photo: HDB)

Technologies to be tested include “Smart Lightning with Sensors”, to study human traffic for optimised provision of lighting, and “Smart Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System”, which will monitor waste disposal patterns to improve the design of waste bins and frequency of waste collection, said HDB.


Finally, for smart living, HDB said it will provide digital infrastructure in flats so that residents can have intelligent homes to “enhance energy savings” and “enable them to access services like healthcare in the comfort of their homes”.

The Smart Elderly Alert System enables alerts to the caregiver when irregular patterns in behaviour are detected. (Photo: HDB)

HDB said commercial companies will be able to develop applications, such as a “Smart Elderly Alert System” for families to monitor their elderly relatives, and a “Home Energy Management System” for residents to monitor and potentially reduce their energy usage.

Dr Cheong said the applications could help residents decide on cost-effective solutions for living. “What’s the trade-off? If I do more of A, should I do less of B? Should I add on a bit of C? The computer models are able to put all these together, and help us to make decisions on which is the best combination – do I put solar panels? How do I manage my energy, waste and water?”


Some of the technologies will be tested in Punggol Northshore, which was announced on Tuesday, before extending them to other estates, said HDB.

These include:

Smart car park
Smart fan
Smart lighting
Smart pneumatic waste conveyance system
Smart enabled homes to facilitate solutions like an Elderly Alert System and a Home Energy Management System.

Members of the public can find out more about the new “smart” initiatives at the HDB Hub, or at www.hdb.gov.sg/futurehomesbetterlives.

At a HDB Professional Engagement and Knowledge-Sharing Forum on Thursday, keynote speaker Vicente Guallart, who is chief architect of the Barcelona City Council touched on the smart city notion and said the idea is to use technology to connect people, and connect them to the city itself.

“The Internet has changed our lives, but it hasn’t changed our cities – yet. And the question is how the technologies of information can help not only to make the city more efficient, but to transform some of the principles about how to run cities,” he said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Sep 2014

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