Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228492
Title: A STATE TO HOUSE A NATION: THE SINGAPORE IMPROVEMENT TRUST, 1947-1959
Authors: NEO WEILONG, ANDRICK
Keywords: SIT
Housing
Local Governance
Slum Clearance
Urban Planning
Housing and Development Board
Issue Date: 30-Mar-2022
Citation: NEO WEILONG, ANDRICK (2022-03-30). A STATE TO HOUSE A NATION: THE SINGAPORE IMPROVEMENT TRUST, 1947-1959. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis studies the SIT from 1947-1959. The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) was a pre-war institution constituted for “improvement”: slum clearance and urban redevelopment for public hygiene purposes. Post-war, it became the government’s agent for housing, before becoming dissolved in 1959, and being reconstituted as the Housing Development Board (HDB) in 1960. Scholars see SIT as a failure, though some have called a reassessment. Others focus on its connections with the HDB, ideologically, architecturally or in policy. However, scholars note the absence of political will from the government to undertake public housing, and the politics of public housing provision and, as housing programmes were undertaken on land occupied by squatters, the political overtones of slum clearance. This thesis takes further the deliberations of previous scholars on SIT’s political nature, and studies it with minimal reference to the HDB to understand the political tides it operated in: its pre-war political and institutional functions, their ramifications on not only housing, but its management of estates and statutory slum clearance duties, and why despite calls for reform, SIT would not be replaced until 1959. This thesis traces the legislative development of the SIT and argues that SIT’s failings in the provision of public housing stem from the unwillingness of government to commit itself to public housing and slum clearance, with little attempts to reconcile differing views on the degree of state intervention in public housing, and local-state governmental jurisdictions leftover from the pre-war colonial apparatus. This delayed the formation of an effective agency to undertake slum clearance and public housing until 1958, with SIT continuing to undertake this work with its pre-war powers and legal mechanisms.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228492
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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