Search Articles

in

Recommended For You

6 months to sell a condo, 3 to offload a flat
6 months to sell a condo, 3 to offload a flat

The Straits Times -
19 Nov 2014

Private condominium sellers are taking nearly six months to secure ...


Two govt sites up for tender to yield 700 residential units
Two govt sites up for tender to yield 700 residential units

The Business Times -
19 Nov 2014

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) released a mixed-use site i...


Bosses get ready to move workers staying in flats
Bosses get ready to move workers staying in flats

The Straits Times -
19 Nov 2014

New rules bar non-Malaysians in some sectors from public housing



Latest HDB Ads

561 HOUGANG STREET 51
Executive Maisonette HDB 561 HOUGANG STREET 51, For Rent

CHEAP 2.6K BLK 561
HOUGANG ST 51 EM
4+1 Fully furn


460 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4
4-Room HDB 460 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4, For Rent

Blk 460 Choa Chu Kang
Full Unit Rental -
Approved


421 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10
3-Room HDB 421 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, Room Rental

421 Ang Mo Kio, Common
Room, Fully Furnished,
Near



Featured Videos

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the hottest news & property trends, updates on popular properties and promotions from STProperty & our partners

HDB

The vanishing void deck

Shared pavilions taking its place

The Straits Times - February 8, 2012
By: Tay Suan Chiang

| More
The vanishing void deckPrecinct pavillions and smaller void decks (above) have replaced spacious HDB void decks. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

SOME Woodlands residents were in a flap last week over plans to convert their void deck into a day-care centre for elderly folk.

Among other reasons, they said they would be deprived of a place to gather and hold weddings and wakes.

But the spacious void deck - a feature synonymous with public housing here - has actually disappeared in new estates such as Punggol and Sengkang.

New housing blocks in older housing estates such as Kallang, Buona Vista and Ang Mo Kio also no longer have these large common spaces.

Instead, these newly built blocks have lift lobbies and spaces too small to hold functions.

As an alternative, HDB has built 'precinct pavilions', a common space shared by several blocks, which residents can use to hold gatherings and events.

In some estates, gardens on the rooftops of multi-storey carparks also serve as gathering spots.

Even the space at newer blocks which still come with fairly large void decks is increasingly taken up by facilities such as childcare centres, social service centres and rehabilitation day-care centres for the elderly.

There are about 640 such void-deck facilities run by more than 230 voluntary welfare organisations and non-profit groups, according to the HDB.

Because of the presence of these facilities, 'there is a perception that the void deck has shrunk', said Mr Ashvinkumar Kantilai, president of the Singapore Institute of Architects.

Void decks were created in 1970 on the ground level of HDB blocks to provide space for residents to interact informally or hold activities.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an HDB spokesman said yesterday that there are usually more void deck spaces for blocks in older estates because of the slab or rectangular block configuration there.

But newer housing blocks tend to have a tower block configuration. This means they do not have long corridors on each floor, and hence, there is less space on the ground level.

As an alternative space, the HDB has built precinct pavilions - usually around 200 sq m, or slightly smaller than the size of two five-room flats - shared by several nearby residential blocks. Low walls, which mark the periphery of a pavilion, double as seats.

But some feel that the single space, which has to be shared by residents from a few blocks, is not enough.

Kallang resident Garry Chern, 36, said: 'When there are two or more events happening in a day, that pavilion is heavily used, and sometimes, one party has to pack up quickly to make way for the other.'

He once saw an undertaker clearing the pavilion after a funeral in the morning, and another funeral being set up that same afternoon.

Having grown up enjoying large void decks, some residents bemoan the loss.

As a child, housewife Michelle Lee, 32, used to ride her tricycle in the public space at the foot of her block. Today, her toddler son cannot do the same at their Punggol block as 'there is no space'.

There is a pavilion near their home but it is a distance away, said Mrs Lee.

Dover resident Yeo Kai Leng, 37, used to live in a 30-year-old block with a large void deck. Her current block in the same estate has no such feature.

In the past, she would often bump into neighbours at the void deck of her old block, but no longer sees them now.

'I think they've stopped meeting for a chit-chat since there is no place for them to sit now,' she said.

MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Hri Kumar Nair said that the smaller common space meant there is limited space to provide for permanent services, such as day-care centres. 'Only some blocks would be eligible for such services,' he said.

Yet for others, the void deck holds no special feelings.

Human resource consultant John Lee, 45, said: 'I don't use the void deck as, at the end of the day, I just want to get back to my flat. I'd rather have more lifts than empty void deck space.'

| More

More homes go under the hammer in weak market

More homes go under the hammer in weak market

The Straits Times - 21 Nov 2014

Big jump in property auctions as banks try to recover unpaid loans


Policy tweaks to ensure a softer landing

Policy tweaks to ensure a softer landing

The Business Times - 21 Nov 2014

THE calls to ease the property cooling measures affecting the Singapore residential property market have gained intensity amid news of tepid property sales and falling prices.


6 months to sell a condo, 3 to offload a flat

6 months to sell a condo, 3 to offload a flat

The Straits Times - 19 Nov 2014

Private condominium sellers are taking nearly six months to secure a sale and it also takes far longer now to find a buyer for a Housing Board flat

View articles from these categories

X

More flats expected for second-timers

The Straits Times - January 20, 2012

By: Daryl Chin