There is no more land, there is only sand*
Milica Topalovic at Critical Urbanisms, University of Basel
The process of Singapore’s transformation from a backwater colonial port, predominantly rural, to the new nation of industrial middle class housed in public high rises, was dubbed a “territorial revolution” with many layers: the social, political and economic dimensions of the national territory have been sculpted by the hand of the state, using topography as the main medium.
Singapore also shows that construction of urban land usually doesn’t come without a (vast) hinterland. The city-state is known as the world’s largest importer of sand for construction, as is located at the center of the sand-trade region whose radius extends to South China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. With nearly a quarter of its land area, around 140 square kilometers, added over the years, it has been estimated that three-quarters of this is “built on foreign soil.”

The lecture is part of the series:
by CRITICAL URBANISMS, Urban Studies, University of Basel

Conflict is associated both with democratic politics and with hegemonic forms of violence. This seminar and lecture series will explore how antagonisms shape cities and citizenship, and how cities and citizenship are, in turn, shaped by antagonisms. We propose that “fractiousness” be considered as a mode of inhabiting cities—indeed, as a mode of citizenship—but also as potential a mode of eroding citizenship and urban fabric. Guest lecturers from a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities will address issues ranging from participatory democracy and technologies of environmental justice to ethnic violence and migration.
About the Event:
Regenzzimmer 111
Petersplatz 1, Basel

*Joshua Comaroff, “Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk”, Harvard Design Magazine no.39, F/W 2014.