Fund for ideas to improve HDB living

Fund for ideas to improve HDB living

Anyone with an innovative idea of how to improve public flat living can now tap a $500,000 government fund to help turn their solutions into reality.

It will match, dollar for dollar, the money that investors put into a project, up to a cap of $10,000, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said on Saturday.

The fund is part of the Housing Board's Cool Ideas scheme, which began in 2011, to get residents and students to come up with ideas to improve amenities in HDB estates.

Design competitions have been organised annually and the public can also share their feedback and ideas on a Facebook page.

Mr Khaw, who explained that the HDB is already helping to develop certain public ideas into commercial products, visited an exhibition at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh on Saturday, which showcased the ideas of winners of previous design competitions.

These included the Sustainable Plant Box, which sprouted from the desire to grow vegetables and plants in the home with the use of recycled water and compost made from kitchen waste. It is now ready to be released into the market.

One of its creators, dentist Mary Quah, 58, said: "The Cool Ideas platform has given the elderly, like myself and my friends, the chance to do something good for the environment."

Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Vince Siow, 19, was part of a team of four who designed a safety timer to prevent fires from starting when stoves are unattended. It took third place in last year's competition.

"You need money to build the prototype," he said. "But not many companies may want to support you, so this fund will definitely be useful."

Other proposals include a swing rack to make hanging laundry easier and safer, and a letterbox tray to separate unwanted fliers from letters.

Mr Khaw believes such ideas can help to address perennial issues such as dripping laundry, noise disturbances, cluttered corridors and unsolicited fliers.

He added that he was heartened by the quality of ideas submitted.

"We have a good harvest, with fresh perspectives on a wide range of topics, from energy and water conservation to promoting kampung spirit through creative communal spaces," he said.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan added: "Public participation has increased by more than 50 per cent since the Cool Ideas platform was launched. This shows that we have residents who want to do their part in improving our living environment."

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