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The History of HDB as a Data Visualization

Singapore's public housing has been lauded as a success and studied by many nations to draw applicable lessons to take away and potentially apply in the context of their own countries. While there is no shortage of such studies they are hard to find and harder to digest, since there is no shortage of citations and technical terms. But Data and Data visualization tools today allow the average layman with some data skills to explore for themselves.

The visualization below shows every public housing block every constructed in Singapore, the number of units, the height of each block, where they are erected and when they were erected; which is a very dry and technical way to describe the visualization. But more importantly, because of the way it has been presented and when contextualized with Singapore's economic growth and population distribution, it reveals much more. For example:

- Singapore's early forays into public housing was largely concentrated in the South of the island

- Singapore's efforts to industrialized in the early years of independence prompted the need for Public Housing further from the city centre in the South, in Jurong, Woodlands and Bedok

- By the 1980s, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Bedok were the largest estates then, Yishun, Choa Chu Kang and Tampine HDB just started

- By 1997, Sengkang and Sembawang estates first launched and first units in Punggol in 2000.


Pivotal insights are typically found at the intesection of data points and perspective. Starting with Public Housing data , #geospatialdata presents a new layer of context, and geographic population distribution presents even more. But what many don't realize is that the data visualization is the easy part, sourcing and preparing the data took up 70-80% of the time it took to build this.


If you're interested to build skills to build similar visualizations or analysis, contact FYT Consulting and explore what we can do for you or your organization.

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