Public housing is often considered low in quality and high in crime. But it's a totally different story in Singapore.
Government-built apartments in Singapore are clean, safe, and well-maintained. And about 80 percent of Singaporean households live in them. Singapore is also one of the few countries in the world to achieve almost full homeownership status. Over 90 percent of the city's households own their own homes.
新加坡政府建造的公共住宅（組屋）非常乾淨、安全，且維護良好。約有八成家庭居住其中。新加坡也是世界上極少數住宅自有率接近 100% 的國家。城市有超過九成家庭擁有自家住宅。
But it wasn't always this way. Here's how Singapore fixed its housing problem.
In 1959, when Singapore obtained self-governance from the British, the city was having a severe housing crisis, struggling to accommodate its growing population.
In 1960, Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and his government set up the Housing and Development Board, or HDB, a public housing agency with a mission to build rental units for the poor.
1960 年，新加坡首位總理李光耀和他的政府設立建屋發展局，簡稱 HDB，這個公共住宅機構的任務是為窮人興建出租房屋。
At the time, many immigrants including those from Malaysia were living in unhygienic slums. Amid increasing racial tension between Chinese and Malays, the HDB had a hard time convincing them to leave their informal settlements for new high-rises.
Then came the still unexplained fire which broke out in the squatter settlement of Bukit Ho Swee on the 25th of May, 1961. An area of 400,000 square meters was razed. Four people were killed and around 16,000 left homeless.
之後河水山違章建築區又突然發生一場至今找原因不明的大火，發生在 1961 年 5 月 25 日。延燒面積達四十萬平方公尺。造成四人喪生、一萬六千人無家可歸。
The government successfully rehoused all of the fire victims within a year and built new housing on the site of the disaster in the next five years. Its speedy reaction won over the people and paved the way for future public housing projects.
Singapore must be one of the few places in the world where a statutory board satisfactorily completed everything it set out to do in its first five-year plan.
By 1965, the HDB managed to build over 51,000 apartments, rehousing 400,000 people, a quarter of the then population, solving the housing shortage.
Apart from renting out apartments, HDB also started to sell them in 1964. Singaporeans are required to save part of their salaries in a state-managed plan called Central Provident Fund.
除了作為租賃使用，建屋發展局也在 1964 年開始出售這些公共住宅。新加坡人被強制要求將部分薪水存入公積金，這個儲蓄計畫叫「新加坡公積金制度」。
At first, the fund only provided for retirement. Then, in 1968, the government allowed the use of the fund for housing expenses, helping more people become homeowners.
積金原先只用作退休基金。後來，在 1968 年，政府允許將積金用在住宅花費上，以幫助更多人取得自有住宅。
Unlike many other countries, Singapore's public housing is not only for the poor. Instead, it caters to the masses. Citizens within certain income ceilings can buy various types of property, from basic two-room apartments to upmarket units in condominiums with a swimming pool and a gym.
Their prices are usually 20 to 30 percent cheaper than those in the private market. But you've got to apply and order the apartment first, then wait several years for it to be built. Also, you can't sell it until you finish the five-year minimum occupation period.
公共住宅的價格大多比私人市場要便宜 20% 到 30%。但你必須事先申購預售屋，然後等待幾年時間興建。此外，在屆滿五年最低居住年限之前房屋不得轉賣。
Today HDB has planned, designed, and built over one million apartments spreading over the city-state. The percentage of people living in public housing has grown from nine percent in 1960 to 82 percent in 2016, and the homeownership rate has also increased rapidly with the rise of Singapore's economy.
時至今日，建屋發展局已在新加坡規劃、設計，並興建超過一百萬戶公共住宅。居住在其中的人口已從 1960 年的 9% 成長到 2016 年的 82 %，而隨著新加坡經濟成長，住宅自有率也迅速攀升。
Singapore's public housing is considered as one of the world's best, but some see it as a way of social control. For instance, quotas ensure a mix of Chinese, Indians, and Malays in each HDB block, aiming to carefully integrate ethnic groups and prevent the formation of a volatile racial enclave.
But still, a mighty agency with effective policies and strong political will has fixed Singapore's housing crisis and improved the living conditions of millions.