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Singapore HDB Living - Kampung Style

Inspired by the old way of kampung lifestyle, this concept takes the lift and online intranet social networks as areas of opportunity to recreate the kampung spirit.

Photo of Tan Yan Ling

Written by

*This concept was developed by my group at the Healthcare Innovation Forum workshop 2012.


Kampung life has been a topic commonly brought up by many Singaporeans when they reflect and look back on the lack of collaboration and cohesiveness in today’s living arrangements. Due to the cohesiveness of the kampong communities, many health and lifestyle benefits have emerged as a result.

We sought to dissect the kampung’s way of life, and identify the characteristics of a kampong lifestyle which we could bring forward to impact living arrangements and Singaporean lifestyles in the near future.



1. The group tried to understand the characteristics of a kampung lifestyle, and how people lived with each other in a kampung.

Kampung Life (as shared by a member of the team who used to live in a kampung)

· People know each other, and the members making up each family

· People chip in their efforts to celebrate big occasions

· People open their doors, and share their meals with their neighbours

· Borrowing is common practice

· People adopt a give and take attitude, in terms of giving and receiving favours from their neighbours

· People are civic-minded and tended to think of the whole community instead of just for their families

2. The discussion revolved around how trust was usually present between these neighbours, as sharing and doing and returning favours was a culture. As doors were always open, there was also less of a physical barrier for people to interact and know each other.

3. It was acknowledged that as we progressed as a nation, it was simply impossible to go back to kampong life. Hence, the team sought to identify areas from the kampong life that could be replicated or adapted to today’s setting, in order to bring about lifestyle changes to our current arrangements.


1. Young photographer mentioned in a National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on his efforts to take a photo of every family at their doorstep, and compile it and share it with all the neighbours, so as to allow everyone to know each other a little more.

2. Task Amigo ( ) / Task Rabbit (

· These task sites allow for one to list out tasks at a minimal fee, and members who have the relevant expertise could put in a bid to do the task, and earn some money.

· Users of the service create their own profiles and expertise, so others can approach them for tasks relevant to their expertise too. Users can also chalk up credit points and comments to indicate their reliability in completing the tasks they take on.



The vision is to recreate a caring society in today's modern urban context that will act as a helping hand to those in need.


The system serves all medical patients who need healthcare at home. From the young to the elderly.


The new proposition takes the lift and a social networking intranet as key areas of opportunity to drive greater interaction and caring for immediate neighbours.

The social shared taskboard and social network is accessible in the lift only by members living in that block.

These are the key attributes of the proposition:

· Shared taskboard in the lift, which allows for residents to list what is available (for sharing), and what tasks are needed which neighbours in the same block can help to fulfil.

· Facial/ thumbprint recognition that allows for one to view the taskboard and other neighbours’ social networks. Taskboard also incorporates in alert features which concurrently alerts neighbours in the lift and the hospital, when a health emergency happens.

· Online block/neighbourhood intranet that incorporates a taskboard, and social network that allows for one to update the taskboard, and share personal details. It is recognised that

- Taskboard includes a ‘tongpang’ feature which in Singaporean terms meant to do a favour in convenience.

· Have to be executed by a small group of enthusiasts first, which in kampong terms are the ‘village chiefs and elders’


A large number of Singapore residents live in high rise buildings with lifts. By leveraging on the lift and online social media networks, a majority of citizens can be positively impacted.


The system has multiple benefits: providing opportunities for alternative employment / peer support / emergency help / lower healthcare cost / brighter living.


Planners, social scientists, healthcare specialist and government. / champions


Re-discover what we have lost along the way to 'progress'. Rebuilding caring communities


1 form a core team / task force 

2 communicate: buy-in / awareness 

3 get government involved 

4 implement a pilot project

How does your concept inspire collaboration between individuals, private sector organisations, and the government in an effort to create cleaner neighbourhoods?

The taskboard is a great feature for collaboration and interaction amongst neighbours living in the block. This concept takes the understanding that doing tasks together and sharing of conveniences breaks the ice and encourages further conversations and interactions.

The collaborative upkeeping of neighbourhoods' cleanliness could be one such task that is placed on the taskboard.

How might your concept be scaled in a way that creates even more connections between people?

This concept could be piloted on a small scale first and once proven successful it could be scaled to other blocks in the neighbourhood too.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Arjan Tupan

I love the Kampung idea of this concept. My father used to tell me about the tradition of his native region, where villages (or Kampungs) would also have bonds with other villages, the 'Pela'. This bond was about helping each other out, in some forms it even became a family bond. It would happen that villagers from a predominantly muslim village would help their 'Pela' village to build a church and vice versa. Loved it.

Photo of Yaowen

Agreed it

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