Altshuler, “Singapore’s Post-Independence History of Urban Planning and
This opening session will
commence with a discussion, led jointly by Professors Altshuler and Tan, of
course objectives and requirements, and then turn to the day’s substantive
topic. Professor Altshuler will lecture on and encourage discussion of the
following questions: What is most striking to a foreign observer about
Singapore’s urban development since 1965? How has it modernized so rapidly? Why
has it placed such emphasis on long-range comprehensive planning—perhaps more
than any other city in the world? How has it achieved such a remarkable
integration of land use and infrastructure (transport, water, waste disposal)
development? How do its environmental and “garden city” strategies mesh with
its central focus on economic growth? More generally, the following questions,
to be explored in several subsequent sessions, will be introduced: How do
capitalism and very strong government co-exist in this system? Could Singapore
have accomplished what it has if it had been more democratic? How has the
system been evolving with respect to opportunities for citizen views to become
informed and articulate, and to obtain a serious hearing?
Our normal expectation in this class is that you will read at least the required selections in advance of class, so as to be well-prepared to discuss them in class. We realize hat few students will have a chance to read in advance of this opening session, however, but we strongly urge you to do so very soon thereafter.
Ooi Giok Ling, Future of Space: Planning, Space, and the City
(Eastern Universities Press, 2004), pp. 32 (line 6) - 34 (end of paragraph 2, with words "the state") and pp. 37-58.
Cherian George, Singapore: The Air-Conditioned Nation (Landmark Books, 2000), pp. 13-21, 65-72
Cheong Koon Hean, "Achieving Sustainable Urban Development [in Singapore]," Ethos, June 2008, pp. 18-31. (Mrs Cheong is CEO of Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority, which is responsible for comprehensive land use planning. She will be speaking at the School on 20 January 2010 in the Bukit Timah Dialogue series.)
Peter Newman and Andy Thornley, Planning World Cities: Globalization and Urban Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 246-54.
Paul Barter, "Singapore's Urban Transport: Sustainability by Design or Necessity," in T-C Wong, et al. (eds), Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore, excerpt: pp. 99-104 (Section 6.3)
Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000 (Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2000), chs. 12-14 (pp. 182-225).
14 Jan (Thu)
Tan, "Urban Governance in Singapore"
Is there a universal understanding of good governance? Is Singapore's emphasis on meritocracy and pragmatism an aspect of good governance? Does it present an alternative to "western" - notably liberal democratic - notions of good governance that focus on accountability, transparency, and participation? How should we understand the rhetoric and practice of "active citizenship" in Singapore since the late 1990s? This session will discuss some of these questions in the context of public housing and "red-light districts".
Kenneth P. Tan, “Meritocracy and Elitism in a Global City: Ideological Shifts in Singapore,” International Political Science Review 29, no. 1 (2008): 7-27.
Ooi Giok Ling,
“Politics, the Public Housing Process, and Space in Singapore,”
Future of Space (Eastern Universities Press, 2004), pp. 146-75.
Loh Kah Seng,"Conflict and Change at the Margins: Emergency Kampong Clearance and the Making of Modern Singapore," Asian Studies Review 33, (2009): 139-59.
Tony Tan Keng Joo and Tai Chee Wong, “Public Housing in Singapore,” in Tai-Chee Wong, Belinda Yuen, and Charles Goldblum, eds, Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore (Springer, 2008), pp. 135-50.
Kim Poh, “The Twin Pillars of Estate Rejuvenation,” in Ethos, June 2008, pp. 32-42.
18 Jan (Mon)
Altshuler, “The USA as a Point of Comparison, & Some Lessons Not to Learn
from Its Example”
The US stands as a polar counterpoint to Singapore
with respect (a) to its land use and governmental patterns, and (b) to
its balance between private market forces and public guidance. What are
the main sources of these differences? How do they affect everyday
urban life? And how, if at all, do they matter to people around the
world, rather than merely to local residents? While focusing primarily
on the US,
this lecture will also provide a global overview of major cities in
terms of density, motor vehicle usage, energy consumption, and
greenhouse gas emissions. Its purposes will be: (a) to provide
something of a model for comparative analysis, (b) to introduce the
idea that some local issues have global ramifications, and (c) to
highlight several ways in which both the US and Singapore are unusual
in their urban development characteristics—though in quite different
ways—even within the category of first-world nations.
Anthony Flint, This Land: The Battle Over Sprawl and the Future of America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 1-6, 146-85.
Board, Driving and the Built Environment
(TRB Special Report 298, August 2009), Report in Brief, 4 pages. (Professor Jose Gomez-Ibanez of Harvard University, who chaired the
committee that wrote this report, will attend and participate in this class
Systematics, Moving Cooler: An Analysis of Transportation
Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Urban Land Institute,
July 2009), Executive Summary, 8 pages.
Michael N. Danielson and Jameson W. Doig, New York: The Politics of Urban Regional Development (University of California Press, 1982), pp. 3-7 (end of paragraph 2, concluding with the word "region"), 30-31 (section on planning), 67-71, 81-87 (end of page), 96-98.
20 Jan (Wed)
Bukit Timah Dialogue: Cheong Koon Hean
CEO of Urban Redevelopment Authority
21 Jan (Thu)
Altshuler, “Values in Tension: (1) Planning, Capitalism, and Democracy, (2)
Growth, Environmental Quality, and Equality, (3) Private Property Rights and
Strong Communal Leadership”
summit values listed in the title of this session frequently pull in
quite different directions, and societies vary widely in the ways that
they strive to balance or harmonize them. The focal points of
comparison in this lecture will be the US and Singapore
(which deal with these tensions quite differently), though with brief
references to other countries as well. We hope that you will join in,
with observations and reflections on how these tensions are addressed
in the country or countries you know best.
Alan Altshuler, “The Ideologics of Urban Land Use Planning,” in Martha Derthick, ed., Dilemmas of Scale in America’s Federal Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1999), excerpt: pp. 192-215, 223-226.
Yeoh Lam Keong, “Rethinking
a New Social Compact for Singapore,” Ethos,
October 2007, pp. 7-12.
Bryan Caplan, "Singapore’s Political
Economy: Two Paradoxes,"Ethos, July 2009, pp.65-72.(This is particularly an article
to be read critically. Think
hard about whether you find any of his arguments persuasive, and if so which
you find most persuasive.)
Koh Tsin Yen, “The Nordic
Social Security Model: Squaring the Circle?” Ethos, October
2007, pp. 26-34. Note especially Tables 2,
Lim Xiuhui, "Security with
Self-Reliance: The Argument for the Singapore Model," Ethos, October 2007,
“Extraordinary Times, Fundamental Principles: The 2009 Budget and the Ministry
of Finance’s Approach to Countercyclical Economic Strategy,” Ethos, July 2009, pp. 20-26.Note especially pp. 20-21.
Alan Altshuler, “Planning and Innovation for City Success,” Ethos (June 2008), pp. 6-12.
25 Jan (Mon)
Fieldtrip 1: Land Transport Authority
27 Jan (Wed)
Bukit Timah Dialogue: Dr Geh Min
President of Nature Society (Singapore)
and former Nominated Member of Parliament
Tan, “The Impact of Civil Society on Policy and Planning in Singapore”
Since the 1980s, Singapore
has been described as undergoing a process of democratization and even
political liberalization. The government has encouraged the growth of
civil society, as far as its welfare and social services roles are
concerned. However, advocacy of a more adversarial kind has been
strongly discouraged. How have organizations in Singapore’s
civil society, in particular those that oppose some aspects of the
government’s strongly developmentalist agenda, learnt to engage with
the state? What strategies have worked and what have not? Have there
been good examples of civil society’s positive impact on national
policy and planning? Two examples will be discussed: Nature Society (Singapore)’s
involvement in the preservation of Tanjong Chek Jawa and the public’s
reaction to pulling down the old National Library building.
Kenneth P. Tan,
“Optimists, Pessimists, and Strategists,” in Kenneth Paul Tan, ed., Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007), pp. 253-69.
Lin Heng, “Public Participation in the Environment: A Southeast Asian
Perspective,” in Zillman, Lucas, and Pring, eds, Human Rights in
Natural Resource Development: Public Participation in Sustainable
Development of Mining and Energy Resources (Oxford University Press,
2002), ch. 17, pp. 652-78.
Chua Ee Kiam, Chek Jawa: Discovering Singapore's Biodiversity (Simply Green, 2002), pp. 77-91.
“The Power of Protestation: Degazetting the Lower Peirce Reservoir Catchment Area,” in Governance, Politics and the Environment (NUS Press, 2007), pp. 221-44.
Ho Khai Leong, Shared Responsibilities, Unshared Power (Eastern University Press, 2003), pp. 325-70.
1 Feb (Mon)
Tan, “National Identity, Social Memory, Conservation, and Heritage”
With rapid industrialization and urbanization, Singapore’s
landscape has changed at a phenomenal rate. However, the landscape also
forms the basis for personal and collective memories that contribute
substantially to the sense of national, ethnic, and social identities
that nation building seeks to augment. What impact has national
development had on nation building? What has motivated the government
to turn its attention to building conservation and heritage efforts?
Can conservation and heritage work support authentic identities,
cultures, traditions, and values in Singapore?
Lily Kong, “Cultural Icons and Urban Development in Asia: Economic Imperative, National Identity and Global City Status,” Political Geography, 26 (2007), pp. 383-404.
Kwek Mean Luck. “Singapore: A Skyline of Pragmatism,” in Ryan Bishop, John Phillips, and Wei-Wei Yeo, eds, Beyond Description: Singapore Space Historicity (Routledge, 2004), pp. 112-24.
Eunice Seng, “Utopia or Euphoria? Six Sites of Resistance in Disneyland and Singapore," TDSR 16, no. 11 (2005): 39-57.
Robert Powell, “Fragments of a Postmodern Landscape,” in William S.W. Lim, ed., Postmodern Singapore (Select, 2002), pp. 85-105.
3 Feb (Wed)
: Diminishing Memories I
and II. The films' director Eng Yee Peng will be present for Q&A.
4 Feb (Thu)
8 Feb (Mon)
Altshuler, “What Role for Local Leadership Amidst Two
Overwhelming Trends of Our Time: Urbanization and Globalization?”
On the one hand, the world
economy is rapidly globalizing, distance seems a less significant barrier to
communication and trade than ever before, and thus one might hypothesize there
should be less and need for cities. In practice, however, the world is globalizing at a mind-boggling rate,
the phenomenon of “world” cities is attracting growing attention, and at the
same time the growth of urban slums in the developing world is a cause of
increasing alarm. Why are
cities in fact growing so rapidly? How have some become the hubs of global commerce? What can (and should)
governments do about the rapid spread and desperate poverty of urban
slums? More generally, how
should we think about the significance of local place, and the importance of
urban policy, in the new world of global competition driven by immensely
powerful global forces.How
much difference can high-quality local leadership and public management
make?In this session we
shall focus first on global trends, then on the specific case of Singapore, and
finally, with your help, some of other cities that you know best.
Richard Florida, Who’s Your City? (Basic Books, 2008), ch. 2 (pp. 17-39). Recommended: chs. 3-4 (pp. 41-75).
Genevieve Giuliano, et al,
“Metropolitan Spatial Trends in Employment and Housing,” (2008), section 2.1
Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (Verso, 2006), ch. 1
recommended: pp. 134-50.
United Nations Population
Fund, State of World Population 2007:
Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth, chs. 3-5 (pp. 35-65).Also recommended: pp. 5-17.
Thomas J. Campanella, The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World
(Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), pp. 14 (para. 2)-22 (end of
para. 3), 174 (para.2)-187, 190 (para. 2)-198 (end of para. 1), 292-301.
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (Free Press, 2008), pp.
1-42. This novel, which won
the 2008 Man Booker Prize (as the best novel published in the British
Commonwealth), provides a remarkably vivid portrayal, particularly in the
recommended pages, of a young Indian’s decision to leave his rural village and
take his chances in the big city.
10 Feb (Wed)
: Diminishing Memories I
and II (dir. Eng Yee Peng)
Altshuler, “Tourism (As an Increasingly Central Theme, both in Singapore and
Globally, of Urban Development Strategy)”
Cities throughout the world have turned to
tourism in recent decades – both the everyday kind and grand events like the
Olympics – as a central strategy for urban economic development.Singapore has, particularly in
the past decade, become a very active participant in this global trend, most
notably with its decisions to encourage casino/resort development and to host
such international events as the Formula One Grand Prix and the 2010 Youth
Olympics.In this session we
will examine the evolution and rationales for this choice, both in Singapore
and elsewhere, and some controversies about it.We hope also, with your help, to discuss ways in which
this theme may be finding expression and/or stirring controversy in other
cities that you know well.
Dennis R. Judd, “Constructing the Tourist Bubble,” in Judd and Susan S. Fainstein, The Tourist City (Yale U. Press, 1999), excerpt: pp. 35-44, 51-53.
Tai-Chee Wong, “Integrated Resort in the CBD of Singapore,” in Tai-Chee Wong, Belinda Yuen, and Charles Goldblum, eds, Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore (Springer, 2008), pp. 59-78.
Excerpt from transcript of
MM Lee Kuan Yew’s interview with the National Geographic on 6 July 2009 (on
Singapore’s decision to admit casino gambling).The full transcript of this interview is available
on-line at www.news.gov.sg, under releases
from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Thomas J. Campanella, The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What It Means for the World (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), pp. 121-34 (end of paragraph. 1).
Alan Altshuler and David
Luberoff, Mega-Projects: The Changing
Politics of Urban Public Investment (Brookings Institution Press, 2003),
pp. 18 (paragraph 3) to 21 (end of section) and pp. 32 (line 5 of text) to 42
(end of section).
Two selections from
Dennis R. Judd and Susan S. Fainstein, The Tourist City (Yale U. Press, 1999):
Robert E. Parker, “Las
Vegas: Casino Gambling and Local Culture,” pp. 107-23; and Patrick Mullins,
“International Tourism and the Cities of Southeast Asia,” pp. 245-60.
Patrick A. Pierce and Donald E. Miller, Gambling Politics: State Government and the Business of Betting (Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2004), pp. 127-30, 195-99.
22 Feb (Mon)
Tan, “Singapore, the Creative City"
like many other global cities, has had to compete for highly mobile
talent that make up the creative class, regarded as vital for its
continued economic success. With a small population that can barely
reproduce itself, Singapore has had to complement its efforts to foster local talent with an aggressive policy to attract foreign talent. How has Singapore’s
urban landscape transformed in order to make it a vibrant global city
in which the creative class will want to live, work, and play? Has the
city been conducive to creative work? What has been the impact of Singapore’s creative city policies and development on its nation building efforts?
Kenneth Paul Tan
, “Sexing Up Singapore,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 6, no. 4 (2003), pp. 403-423.
Kenneth Paul Tan
, “The Culture Industry in Renaissance-City Singapore,” in Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2009), pp. 37-76.
Terence Chong, “Industrializing Creativity and Innovation” in Kenneth Paul Tan, ed., Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007), pp. 45-67
Sanyal, “Singapore: The Art of Building a Global City,” Institute of
Policy Studies Working Paper no. 17, January 2007, Singapore.
24 Feb (Wed)
Bukit Timah Dialogue
: Alex Au
Activist and Author of YawningBread Website
25 Feb (Thu)
Fieldtrip 3: Heritage Trail
27 Feb (Sat), 1pm - 5pm
Fieldtrip 4: Tanjong Chek Jawa
1 Mar (Mon)
No class, but photo-essay teams are encouraged to meet with professors for updates on their project and presentation strategy.
3 Mar (Wed)
Bukit Timah Dialogue
: Siew Kum Hong
Activist and Former Nominated Member of Parliament
2.00 pm: Team 1 (Housing)
2.45 pm: Team 2 (Sports and Recreation)
3.30 pm: Break
3.45 pm: Team 3 (Community Development)
4.30 pm: Team 4 (Land Transport)
6 Mar (Sat)
Photo-essay Presentations and End-of-Course Dinner
9.00 am: Team 5 (Food and Shopping)
9.45 am: Team 6 (Tourism)
10.30 am: Team 7 (Nightlife)
11.15 pm: Lunch break
12.00 pm: Team 8 (Creativity and the Arts)
12.45 pm: Team 9 (National Identity)
7.00 pm: Dinner (Kenneth Paul Tan's house)
10 Mar (Wed)
Bukit Timah Dialogue: Dr Kevin Tan
President of Singapore Heritage Society
and Professor (adjunct), NUS Law Faculty