URA Centre Singapore

Singapore: An Island Or Part of a Metropolitan Region?Milica Topalović

As an island, does Singapore have a hinterland?
The tour of the Architecture and Territorial Planning exhibits challenges the concept of Singapore as an island through the exploration of its hinterlands. At first glance, the island city-state of Singapore is the city without a hinterland. Certainly, it is a city whose production grounds and access to resources lie beyond national borders. Singapore’s geographical hinterland now comprises the tri-national space that includes the Malaysian State of Johor and Indonesian Riau Archipelago. The economic incorporation of proximate areas in Malaysia and Indonesia has remained both a necessity and a profitable opportunity for Singapore.

The hinterland research is founded on extensive field investigations and studio work carried out by the professorship and students of the ETH Department of Architecture since 2011. Our cross-border expeditions in Singapore, Johor, and Riau enabled a collection of many original case studies, which together form an alternative portrait of the city-state. The research does not reinforce the accustomed view of Singapore as an island developed on the paradigm of a global city, but as a city whose present and future are tied to the tri-national metropolitan region. Beyond the specific case, the research is a rich source for redefining the notion of the hinterland at the start of the twenty first century.

This talk is organised in conjunction with the exhibition Future Cities: Research in Action at the URA Centre Atrium from January 23 to March 13 2015.