Singapore / Bibliography – Master Plan for Singapore 1958 (SIT)

Colony of Singapore. (1958) Master Plan – Written Statement. Singapore: Tien Wah Press

Before the independence of Singapore, the British authorities had adopted a laissez-faire approach towards town planning which, when coupled with a population explosion, led to the emergence of slums and overcrowding in the city area. Re-introducing the concept of planned urban growth and included rural areas in land use plans, the first master plan of Singapore was prepared and approved by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in 1958 to guide land use and development in Singapore through a diagnostic survey.

The diagnostic survey of Singapore was conducted over two years from 1952 to 1953, and involved studies on the land and building use of the central (city core), urban and rural areas, as well as traffic flow and the industries that would provide employment for the people.[1] The aim of the master plan was to provide a blueprint to guide the physical development of Singapore so there would be adequate land for residents to live, work and play in a conducive environment.

As stated in the master plan written statement:

“The survey identified the following areas for improvement:

  1. Improve conditions of overcrowding and poor housing in the central areas of the city.
  2. Improve congestion in the central area, including traffic.
  3. Provide sufficient housing, work, education and recreational facilities for a rapidly growing population that was projected to reach two million after 1970.
  4. Reserve land for future development.
  5. Reserve land for industries that would provide employment for the population.

The following solutions were proposed in the master plan:

  1. Reduce overcrowding in the city centre by increasing housing in the peripheral urban areas.
  2. Clear slums and attap housing in the city and urban areas, and resettle residents in modern housing.
  3. Introduce a “green belt” around the city to limit urban sprawl. The green zone would be used for public parks, playing fields, agricultural and other recreational or institutional purposes.
  4. Establish new towns in the rural areas based on the concept of satellite towns. The three new towns – Woodlands, Bulim (now known as Jurong) and Yio Chu Kang – would be self-sufficient residential towns with schools, recreational areas, shops, health services and places of work. This would reduce the travelling distance for residents to reach their places of work, study or play.
  5. Set aside land for new industries.
  6. Build new roads and car parks.”



1. Singapore. (1955). Master Plan: Report of Survey (p. 2). Singapore: G.P.O. 

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