While my trip to Singapore was partially professional and mostly social I did find time to learn more about some interesting characteristics of this city-state. Although some people describe Singapore as the “Disneyland of South East Asia” it is actually an extremely interesting place once you get past the fact that you can’t spit on the street or buy gum. Below is my photo journal from the point of view of a traveling urban planning student. (This could also be a photo journal of a foodie in Singapore but that would not exactly fit with the theme of our blog.
Chinatown: This might be one of the most chaotic places in Singapore, especially in the weeks before Chinese New Years, but it is still very organized and clean compared to the wholesale markets in Mainland China.
Congestion Pricing: To curb congestion in the central city all cars are charged a toll for driving in certain areas. Once a car drives under this device the charge is automatically deducted from a prepaid card that sits on the dash of the car.
HDB Housing: About 85% of Singapore lives in public housing owned by the Housing Development Board. Since slum clearance schemes in 1960’s, HDB has been constantly building public housing blocks.
New HDB Housing: More recent HDB housing developments now have varying building typologies. Although not all architects that I know find this visually pleasing it is nice to see new HDB units that are not identical to the older multicolored blocks.
Historic Preservation in Singapore: One of my Singaporean friends once described Singapore’s idea of preservation as keeping only a few buildings and then painting them obnoxious colors. I think this photo perfectly displays this approach.
Historic Preservation Attempt 2: These buildings built around 1915 in the East Coast of Singapore have maintained slightly more of their original character than the structures above.
Cemetery: As a tiny island nation with a growing population Singapore must carefully allocate its land even for cemeteries. In 1998 the government passed a law requires all graves to be exhumed after 15 year in an effort to preserve land.
Container Ships: The first time I visited a beach in Singapore I was shocked by number of container ships on the horizon. Considering though that the Port of Singapore is the world’s busiest container port one might be surprised that there are not more ships on the horizon.
The Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands, an “Integrated Resort” (a Singaporean euphemism for Casino) which opened in 2010.
Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing all an amazing year of the rabbit!