Tharman: Neighbourhoods Key to Integrated Society

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman stressed the need for governments to build neighbourhoods which maximise social interactions to achieve an integrated society.

DPM Tharman was sharing Singapore's experience on inclusion and social equity at  a Brookings Institution conference in Washington on Monday (30 Nov).

He shared about Singapore’s multi-faceted policy approach in achieving social harmony, with the centrepiece being  neighbourhoods.

DPM Tharman mentioned that besides putting small flats next to big ones and ensuring racial enclaves do not form through housing quotas, he also noted that it was crucial to have quality public spaces, high standards of service and rejuvenation to ensure estates do not fall into disrepair, and to ensure good access to jobs and good schools everywhere.

"We have disadvantaged persons, we have disadvantaged families, we have at-risk youth, but we don't have disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Singapore, and we don't have an at-risk neighbourhood. That's a big difference," he said.

He said another measure of the success of this approach is that the lower-income group has been able to enjoy rising home prices together with the rest of society.

“By designing neighbourhoods so they are mixed for all income groups and with high-quality shared spaces, attractive for everyone to live in, everyone's home equity goes up. That's a bit of a rarity around the world. We've got that for free," he said.

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Source: " Govts 'must take active role in social policy'" (The Straits Times, 2 December 2015)

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