Chloe Lim En
The Sharing Affair: Neighbourhood Edition

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Cho Im Sik

Income inequality has been a persistent issue in Singapore and not only does it have social impact on societal level, it will also cause “politics to become vicious, society to fracture and nation to wither”  There are opportunities, besides policies, to mitigate social stratification and exclusivity by starting with the immediate neighbourhood around us.  More than 80% of Singaporeans currently live in a HDB town and the Neighbourhood Centre within the town serve as potential platforms that enable everyday interaction, become places where people meet to build and sustain social ties, and engage in discussion and debate. 

This thesis will explore the future role of our HDB Neighbourhood Centre through a new hybrid economic system and architectural lens. It focuses on adaptability, empowerment and ownership where architecture forms as a catalyst to create a collaborative and convivial neighbourhood with spaces ranging from intimate neighbour encounters, to resident level initiatives to the larger neighbourhood socio-economical setting. It hopes that the Neighbourhood Centre will no longer be a one-way transaction but a two-way involvement between residents and economic stakeholders to strike a healthy balance between profit-making and societal relationships.

Issues @ Heart

Inequality does surface between and within different neighborhood where there are households from different socio-economic background. It is evident that such experiences create negative perceptions and this lack of mutual understanding could lead to the emergence of distrust between classes, even tension. The lack of social mixing may translate into a lack of empathy for and understanding of those who hail from disadvantaged families, leading to a reluctance to support policies aimed at improving the lots of the lower classes, and contributing towards their welfare."

There are three main layers of the cluster, core, hybrid and co-live. The core of the neighbourhood consists of 4 main programs – Services, goods, food and space which after the research done, are essential to NCs. As they branch out to the hybrid layer, different programs start to emerge like the Co-op Childcare from the ‘service’ pillar, social kitchen from ‘food’ pillar and as these emerge, the idea of hybridizing for collective production can happen. With the last layer consisting of a co-living system, this allows individuals or family who wish to live on a lower cost, hence sharing many common facilities within the cluster.

The Eco-System

The system as a whole works on different levels and involves a variety of stakeholders over the entire process. With a new system that aims to balance consumption and production through the involvement of new stakeholders like social enterprises and community residents, it hopes to evoke a sense of ownership and cultivate healthy motivations towards profit making and societal relationships. 

The Process

The 3 main process are - Share | Build | Recycle. consolidating sharing initiatives and programs with the regular economy can produce a new synergy and collaboration between a heterogeneous community to achieve an inclusive and cohesive environment where people are given opportunities to interact and bond  beyond their social economic status. Building allows owners to customize their own homes/furniture and as time goes by, these can then be recycled and given a new lease of life through the filament of 3D printing.

With a diversified community, availability of skills and assets are changing daily, these flexible spaces allow expansion and contraction at any point, depending on the negotiation between residents and the larger community. Also incorporating  technology into the physical aspect of the eco-system, these negotiations and self-arrangement can be achieved and sorted out digitally with just a few taps. A credit system will also be included to incentivise the community with opportunities to earn by sharing and redeem “space” or “items” via 3D printing production.

Internal Perspective of Hybrid Layer