Singapore Improvement Trust

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Housing built by SIT at Tiong Bahru, Singapore.
Same group of housing, from a bird's eye view.


The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) was a government organisation set up in 1927 by the British colonial government in Singapore in response to the housing needs of the population of Singapore.[1] At that time, many people resided in overcrowded shophouses and squatter settlements, resulting in widespread disease and lack of hygiene and sanitation. Often, over 200 people would live in one shophouse. This also generated massive civil unrest and crime.

The SIT was formed with the recruitment of Captain Edwin Percy Richards as deputy chairman. The SIT was composed of professional architects and contractors to resolve this large social problem, with the goal of building affordable public housing for the common population of Singapore.


One of its earliest projects was the Tiong Bahru housing estate, which is regarded as the first public housing estate of Singapore. However, SIT managed to build only 23,000 housing units in 32 years, unable to find an effective solution to the lack of housing as the population grew faster than it built housing units.

Singapore's first satellite new town, Queenstown, was initiated by SIT in the 1950s but has been developed mostly by HDB.[2]


  1. ^ "Singapore Improvement". The Straits Times. 11 August 1925. p. 11. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Chew, Valerie. "Public housing in Singapore". National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved 13 July 2011.