Singapore has one of the best example of urban development that faces land scarcity. With a portion of Singapore's land area has been set aside for permanent green lungs, land availability for its growing population has become excruciatingly little.
The government has devised a great way to overcome this problem - by building literally hundreds of high-rises in the city state. Knowing that highly concentrated population can lead to low quality of life, Singapore's Housing Development Board (affectionately known as HDB) has spearheaded the development of HDB flats complete with facility equivalent to that of condominiums such as swimming pools, tennis courts, multi-level parking lots and mini markets. Bear in mind that in this region, the word 'flats' does bring a negative connotation of mossy brick buildings, malfunctioning lifts, smelly corridors and social illness. HDB 'flats' are more aptly known as apartments, if not condominium.
While the Singapore suburbs are not particularly touristy, a journey through the heartland of Singapore on MRT is not a bad idea. I took on a long MRT journey from NE3/EW16 Outram Park to BP1/NS54 Choa Chu Kang, from which I took the evening bus to Singapore Zoo. I passed through several housing districts such as Redhill, Queenstown, Buona Vista, Jurong East, Clementi, Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak. It was fascinating to see how Singaporeans have made do with this type of high-rise living and I could not be contented more. Great facilities, easy access to public transportation and modern amenities are certainly a great ingredient of high-rise urban development in Singapore.
Landed properties in Singapore come at a premium and beyond reach for the majority of Singaporeans, despite enjoying one of the world's highest per capita income. Land tenure is also a little confusing - new housing projects can claim to be freehold for 99 years, which is dubiously perplexing for someone who is used to freehold vs. leasehold mantra in Malaysia.
A fascinating journey across Singapore. The travel route mentioned here was the one I undertook. There are plenty of other housing districts that can be enjoyed on different MRT routes such as the North South Line, North East Line and East West Line.