Reclaiming the City
In its quest to be a world city, many of Singaporeâ€™s urban spaces have been subjected to constant redevelopment. Derelict waterfronts and ageing neighbourhoods have been given new life, enjoying their reincarnation as landscapes of economy and leisure. A prevalent theme in Singaporeâ€™s transformation has been the reclamation of landscapes to cater to new users, activities and agendas. Adopting a case study of the Singapore River waterfront, this paper analyses three forms of urban reclamation. They include reclaiming functionality, aimed at infusing the waterfront with new land uses; reclaiming access, as a way of opening up the landscape to more people; and reclaiming the local, as a way to commemorate local cultures and histories. While government planners and private enterprise are intent on developing a world-class environment, Singaporeans and visitors respond to this urban vision in different ways with some praising the dynamism of worldly transformations and others criticising them as a prelude to a soulless city. While some degree of worldliness is essential in any redevelopment, a fine balance has to be sought between the excesses of global urbanism and the parochialism of vernacular concerns.
Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 (August)
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