Over the last fifty to sixty years, Singapore has rapidly transformed its deteriorating urban situation and bleak economic conditions into a modern innovative city with a highly competitive globalized economy.

Economic Infrastructure

Through far-sighted planning and  rapid execution, the government has steered Singapore through several transformations of its economic structure. Industrial and technology parks, ports, airports, power stations, wastewater treatment plants, vocational and training institutes have been planned and developed and then re-planned and re-developed to adapt to new economic development priorities as Singapore built up manufacturing, chemical, high technology, logistics and innovative technology clusters.  

Housing and Urban Development

Singapore is a pioneer in innovative and affordable housing and urban development.  Singapore planners have planned and refined transit-oriented developments since the seventies, creating new towns with integrated public transportation and community services located within walking range of residents.  In contrast to the dismal experience in some countries, the very well-planned and well-managed high density  living environment is desirable in Singapore, and it is a model for sustainable urban development.

Integrated Landuse and Transportation Planning

Integrated landuse and transportation planning has been the prevailing policy and practice in Singapore for over fifty years.  Through electronic road pricing and various vehicle management policies, Singapore has succeeded in avoiding the traffic jams that clog many cities. Public transportation infrastructure requires long lead time for planning and development .  Singapore planners have learned a critical lesson in the value of good planning forecasts  as in recent years,  public transportation infrastructure have lagged behind unexpected rapid growth in population and commuters.

A Sustainable and Desirable Environment

Unusual for developing countries in the sixties and seventies, the government aggressively promoted  a “clean and green” environment and restricted pollutive industries during the era of rapid manufacturing growth.  Major efforts to clean up waterways were initiated and tree-planting and green space requirements were made mandatory for many land and infrastructure development  projects.  In more recent times, innovative and sustainable environmental practices have included creating water catchment in dense urban areas, recycling of wastewater for potable uses,  and developing linked networks of green ecological spaces.

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