The architect who made Singapore’s public housing the envy of the world

Liu Thai Ker, known as the architect of modern Singapore, at his office on the island nation off the southern coast Malaysia, March 25. With a focus on affordability, community, convenience and light, Liu Thai Ker replaced squalid slums with spacious high-rises, but a recent spike in sales prices for some units saddens him. [Chang W. Lee/The New York Times]

The high-rise apartments - some with panoramic views of Singapore's tropical cityscape - are airy, light-filled and spacious enough to comfortably raise a family. They are also public housing units, and for decades were emphatically affordable, giving Singapore an enviable rate of homeownership.

Now, however, at least a few of the apartments are being sold at a price that would have been unthinkable not long ago: more than $1 million.

"I'm sad to see that - because public housing must equal affordability," said Liu Thai Ker, the urban planner who gets much of the credit for creating the country's widely lauded approach to housing its citizens.

Now 86, Liu is considered the architect of modern Singapore because of his role overseeing the development of about half of the more than 1 million apartments that make up public housing in the small and exceptionally...

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