History of Singapore’s land reclamation

History of Singapore’s land reclamation

The first land reclamation works began in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles cleared mangrove swamps and fishing villages in order to build trading centres. He obtain material from the nearby hills by levelling them and using the earth to fill the surrounding seabed. Fast forward 146 years, after Singapore declared independence from Malaysia, Singapore began the first reclamation project.

Below is a video reference showing the time lapse of Singapore land reclamation from 1984-2012 :

Singapore is a fast-paced urban country with a population of 5.47 million. With an existing land area of only 581.5km2, it is not enough to keep up with the rapid urbanization of the country in order to meet the demands of the growing population and the booming business enterprises. In order to meet these demands, the Singapore government turned to land reclamation in order to make space for her people’s needs. Reclaimed land has created space to build residential areas (e.g. Marine Parade, Punggol), tourist spots (e.g. Marina Bay, Sentosa) as well as industrial spaces (e.g. Jurong Island). The new integrated resorts build on the Marina Bay reclaimed land attracted more tourists to Singapore, further boosting the country’s economy.

Below is a map of Singapore showing original land, reclaimed land, and future land reclamation plans:


To date, Singapore has seen a 24.4% increase in land size after several land reclamation projects through the years. The government also laid out an extensive land reclamation project in several parts of Singapore, estimated to end in 2030 and provide more residential, industrial and military spaces for future use.


Images references:

  1. Singapore reclamation time lapse video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p25Itx7959Q
  2. Map of Singapore showing original land, reclaimed land, and future land reclamation plans: http://mr-architecture.com/mapping-singapore/

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