Singapore / Bibliography

‘Modernism in Singapore‘ Johannes Widodo, Docomomo Journal, September 2003

Widodo outlines how modernist ideas were first introduced to Singapore on a large scale through the first public housing estates constructed by the Singapore Improvement Trust at Tiong Bahru and Chinatown. For the same reason they gained favour in Europe, the clean rational lines with minimal decor proved very sensible to be reproduced at a large scale. The use of modular reinforced concrete elements also helped minimise construction costs. At the same time, however, the SIT was sensitive to local traditions; its first high-rise blocks were built for the higher density area of Chinatown but attempted to retain elements of the vernacular shophouse typology at its ground level.

‘Disciplining globalisation for local purposes? The peculiarity of contending Singaporean economic nationalisms’
Alan Chong, Globalization and Economic Nationalism in Asia, ed. Anthony P. D’Costa

Singapore has to tread a fine balance between economic nationalism and globalisation. In aiming to be a major world hub, it has developed infrastructure networks to cope with economic visitors and migrants. By trying to make business easier (one quarter of all business events held in Asia in 2008 were in Singapore), however, there has been a massive influx of immigrants to the country.

The perceived cost of sharing already limited space with these foreigners, who incidentally also increase competition in other spheres of life, has become a tense issue. In trying to ‘discipline’ globalisation, the government has encouraged it as a necessary need for the authoritarian state, while also trying to respond to its citizens complaints regarding competition for resources.


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