Archives

ARCHIPELAGO CITY BATAM
Urbanization of Singapore's Hinterland
Myriam Perret, 2012
Batam Island in Indonesian Riau Archipelago is known as an industrial city on the border, growing rapidly in the shadow of Singapore’s development as global hub. Its urbanism is largely based on Singaporean investments into industrial parks for electronic manufacturing and labor supply from various parts of Indonesia. The project proposes strategies for planning urban growth in these extraordinary conditions.
HONG KONG SHENZHEN
15.04—20.04.2012
In many ways, the linked growth of Singapore and its neighboring cities, Batam and Johor, brings to mind Hong Kong and Shenzhen some years earlier. In 1979 Shenzhen, then a fishing village, was declared China’s first special economic zone, and grew rapidly, serving as Hong Kong’s productive hinterland. Today however, the roles are changing. Going from Hong Kong’s vertical factories to Shenzhen’s urban villages, we were searching for the sites and the stories of the twin cities.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Special thanks to Ass Prof Hendrik Tieben for showing us Hong Kong’s terrace houses, to Prof Gordon Mathews for the walk through the backstage of Chunking Mansions, to Dr. Max Hirsh for the tour of Hong Kong’s airport infrastructures, to Mary Ann O’Donnell for the drive through Shenzhen’s productive hinterlands, to Ass Prof Joshua Bolchover for envisioning a section through Hong Kong, and to Tammy Wong and Chen Ting for their help and for travelling together.
HINTERLAND (1/2)
Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia
Productive Territories
At first glance, Singapore is a wealthy metropolis with a sparkling urban organization, impeccable social order and a world-class skyline. But this image is anything but complete. For decades, the city-state’s expanding economy has required more space and labour beyond its 680 square kilometers territorial limits. Mirroring the growth of Singapore, fast growing ‘support cities’ within the Malaysian and Indonesian borders are characterised by young populations of migrant workers, vast sites of global manufacturing industries, by dynamism and by uncertain futures.

During the ETH spring semester 2012, the investigation of Singapore’s hinterland was conducted under the theme of Productive Territories. These are the territories and corresponding organisational forms of economy that function in the fragmented tri-national situation, thriving on the wealth gap and other socio-economic and political differences among the neighbouring countries.

The investigations describe and contest the forms and the rules of urbanism in Singapore’s productive hinterlands on three different territories: The Riau Islands Province (Indonesia), the Strait of Singapore (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia) and Johor State (Malaysia).

[sc:indent]ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS[sc:/indent]

Teaching team: Milica Topalovic, Martin Knüsel, Marcel Jäggi
ETH students: Livio de Maria, Martin Garcia, Giulia Luraschi, Magnus Nickl, Stephanie Schenk, Karl Wruck

Special thanks to experts, collaborators and guests: Joshua Bolchover, Goda Budvytyte, Paolo Cucchi, Cuthbert Choo, ChemGallery Jurong Island, Stephane Grandgirard, Andy Hauw, Lee Chee Hock and Lee Chee Wee of the Hock Wee Nurseries, Poison Ivy, Sree Kumar, Marie Laverre, Charles Lim, Patricia Lim Pui Huen, Gordon Mathews, Mary Ann O’Donnell, Till Paasche, Myriam Perret, Bas Princen, Colin See, Sharon Siddique, Edgar Tang, Hendrik Tieben, Marc Westhof, Jolovan Wham.

Special thanks to BAPPEDA BATAM (Municipal Planning Authority of Batam): Wan Darussalam, Rahmat Kurniawan, Agung Aidil Sahalo, Azril Apriansyah; UNRIKA BATAM (University of the Riau Archipelago): Hanung Nugroho, Disha Nuralmer, Rino Purna Irawan, Tri Sutrisno, Purwono Budi Santoso, Sigit Wardoyo, Yuga She Uchul, Rozaini Zai, Andri Aan Sofian, Agus, Hadi, Rino Gade; UTM (University of Technology Malaysia) FACULTY OF BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Ho Siong, Chau Loon Wai, Abdul Rahim Bin Ramli, Ibrahim Ngah; INSTITUTE OF SOUTH EAST ASIAN STUDIES: Ooi Kee Beng, Francis Hutchinson; PORT OF SINGAPORE AUTHORITY: Ng Geok Kwee, Alvin Chow, Tan Liang Hui; MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE: Yi Young Lam, Tiancheng Song, Wee Kiat Lim, Kwong Heng Goh, Ah Cheong Toh, Daniel Tan; MINDEF, NRF: Lui Pao Chuen; NUS ASIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Johan Lindquist; NUS DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE: Eric G. L’Hereux, Im Sik Cho, Jörg Rekittke; NUS DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY: James Sidaway, Tim Bunnell; SINGAPORE MARITIME INSTITUTE: Jason Lin, Daniel Zhang, Ace Leong; URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE: Charlene Chua, Heather Chi.

Special thanks to ETH ZURICH and FUTURE CITIES LABORATORY: Iris Belle, Remo Burkhard, Stephen Cairns, Kees Christiaanse, Alexander Erath, Anna Gasco, Lisa Giordano, Mathias Gunz, Uta Hassler, Dirk Hebel, Max Hirsh, Susanne Hofer, Rolf Jenni, Vesna Jovanovic, Ozan Karaman, Rudolf Krieg, Benjamin Leclair, Alex Lehnerer, Kevin Lim, Charlotte Malterre, Christian Müller Inderbitzin, Lwin Maung Chan Myae, Edda Ostertag, Faizah Binte Othman, Christian Schmid, Gerhard Schmitt, Sin Soo Meng Daniel, Cheryl Song, Lorenzo Stieger, Amanda Tan, Tao Wang, Denise Weber, Ying Zhou.
BATAM
Batam Industrial Island
Livio De Maria and Stephanie Schenk
The island of Batam in Riau Archipelago was designated as Indonesia’s first industrial zone in 1971 in order to benefit from the proximity to Singapore. At the beginning of the 1990, Batam remained scarcely inhabited and covered with rainforest. Two years later, several companies had begun manufacturing activities on the Indonesian island and thirty-five more had already agreed to set up activities in an industrial park. At the same time, a second island, Bintan, was added to the scheme and designed to operate as a planed resort. Since then, Singaporean investments have been decisive for the rapid industrialization and urbanization of the two major islands in Riau Archipelago.

The emerging metropolitan region Singapore–Johor–Riau is fast growing, both in terms of population and economy, with a population of around 8 million today. The region is dominated by a strong centre and is profoundly asymmetric: the large landmass of Johor extends to the North, while Riau Archipelago is dispersed to the South; Johor is economically wealthier, it has a longer history and tighter connections to Singapore than Riau. It is estimated that 300,000 residents of Johor Bahru are based in Singapore for work while 150,000 more commute daily to work in the city-state. On the other hand, seasonal workers and maids from Riau work in both Singapore and Johor. Riau Archipelago is still dominated by industrial manufacturing (Batam) and tourism (Bintan), while Johor Bahru seems to be transforming into a service economy extending from Singapore. Culturally, the region is unified and part of the Malay world, with the exception of the Chinese dominated city-state.

After its independence in 1965, Singapore rapidly transformed from a relatively undeveloped colonial outpost into one of the most developed nations in Asia. Within three decades, the city-state joined the First World economy, despite its small population, limited land area and lack of natural resources. From early on, it focused on offering cheap labour and welcoming foreign direct investments and multinationals. This allowed Singapore to rapidly establish itself, as one of the four Asian Tigers with one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world through the 1970s. Gradually, policymakers sought to switch from the low profit manufacturing of low cost products, toward a production with increased wages, requiring higher skill and higher productivity.

During the 1980s, it became clear that the continuing growth of Singapore’s economy required more space and workers beyond the limits of the city-state. At the same time, changing political circumstances allowed for an onset of regional economic cooperation. Through the so-called Growth Triangle agreement among the three countries, Singapore offered to provide management expertise, technology, telecommunications and transportation in exchange for land and labour offered by Johor and Riau. As a result, vast tracts of land have been opened up for development, mainly industrial production, dominated by Singaporean investment. Particularly since the early 1990s, the phenomenon of migration of the manufacturing sector from Singapore and the formation of the productive hinterlands in Johor Bahru and Riau became apparent.

Since 2006, the legal format of the cross border cooperation has been refined through the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) and the free trade zones (FTZs) that have been set up on the Malaysian and Indonesian sides in order to further capitalize on the relationship with Singapore. Owing to various incentives, involving tax reduction, abolition of customs duties, possibility of ownership, and certainly the access to land and labour, “the special zones” now represent a warm pool for both Singaporean firms and the multinationals.

The study attempts to analyse and describe the productive territory of Batam and Riau Archipelago, the Indonesian side of the metropolitan hinterland.
STRAIT
The City in Front of the City
Martin Garcia and Magnus Nickl
The Singapore Strait (Selat Singapura in Malay) is a 105 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide sea passage linking to the Straits of Malacca in the West and the South China Sea in the East. The Singapore Strait is the most constricted and shallow part of the Malacca Straits, and one of the most strategic global shipping routes, next to the Suez and the Panama Canals. The strategic importance of the Malacca and the Singapore Straits is enormous. More than 50,000 vessels pass through the Strait each year, carrying around one quarter of the worlds traded goods, including oil travelling to China from the middle East, Chinese manufactured goods and Indonesian coffee. Experts recognise that if the Straits were to close for just a few days, there would be a major impact on the global economy and the European economy would be paralyzed within a few weeks.
The maritime trade along the Straits has a long history, as it has been part of the Maritime Silk Route linking the Mediterranean basin, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. From the early fifteenth to the early nineteenth century, the port of Malacca dominated the Straits when its role gradually diminished after the founding of Singapore in 1819. The Straits have not only brought exotic goods and trading opportunities to the region, but also new populations, cultures and religions. As a kind of a middle point between India and China, the Singapore region includes people of Chinese, Malay, and Indian descents, from Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu religions.
The Singapore Straits is maintained and managed by three countries, each responsible for providing security, ensuring safety and protecting the environment. The independence of Singapore in 1965 was followed by its economic rise as one of the world’s busiest ports, leading to the region’s growing economic asymmetry. At the same time, political relationships among the three countries have remained strained and difficult; for example several border disputes along the Straits still remain unresolved. As a result of these complex influences, the space of the Straits is remarkably complex and intricate too; it is highly regulated, criss-crossed by hard borders, and fragmented into various restricted zones. The Indonesia-Singapore border lies along the Straits, thus the busiest shipping route overlaps with a national border, and cross traffic of people and goods from one country to another constantly interferes with the through traffic of international shipping. By contrast, the space of the Straits has been much more open for local travel in the past and the fragmentation is a novel and arguably a strengthening phenomenon.
The Straits is also a microcosm of local activities, where next to ports, shipyards, and bunkering stations (fuel stations for ships), one finds petroleum, sand and stone extraction sites, waste disposal sites and military installations as well as tourist resorts, heritage locations and uninhabited islands covered by mangrove forests. In the past, the area was notorious for piracy. Today, this is also an area where the strict national laws in Muslim countries (against gambling and drinking in particular), are diluted in the free zone provided by the Singaporean waters.
This complex territory can be described as a layering of three different spatial logics: the territory of global shipping, the borderland territory, and the urban territory. The study maps and describes each layer and its main characteristics.
JOHOR
Hinterland vs. Capital
Giulia Luraschi and Karl Wruck
Johor Bahru is a city of nearly two million people developed along the Straits of Johor and the Causeway leading to Singapore. It was founded in 1855 in response to the growing demand by the Singapore port for jungle timber, and for cultivation of rubber and pepper. Throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries until today, the relationship between the two cities has remained close and complex, showing a combination of political rivalry and economic integration. Johor Bahru is today a fast growing city on Singapore’s periphery, with a dual character as a productive hinterland and a suburban area linked to the metropolitan core.

The emerging metropolitan region Singapore-Johor-Riau, is fast growing both in terms of population and economy, with a present population of around 8 million. Though dominated by a strong centre, the region is profoundly asymmetric: the large land mass of Johor extends to the North, while Riau Archipelago is dispersed to the South; Johor is economically wealthier, it has a longer history and tighter connections to Singapore than Riau. It is estimated that 300,000 residents of Johor Bahru work and live in Singapore, and 150,000 commute daily to work in Singapore. On the other hand, seasonal workers and maids from Riau work in both Singapore and Johor. The Riau Archipelago is dominated by industrial manufacturing (Batam) and tourism (Bintan), while Johor Bahru is transforming into a service economy extending from Singapore. Culturally, the region is unified and part of the Malay world, with the exception of the Chinese dominated city-state of Singapore.

After its independence in 1965, Singapore rapidly transformed from a relatively undeveloped colonial outpost into one of the most developed nations in Asia. Within three decades, the city-state joined the First World economy, despite its small population, limited land area and lack of natural resources. From early on, it focused on offering cheap labour and welcoming foreign direct investments and Western multinationals. This allowed Singapore to rapidly establish itself, as one of the four Asian Tigers with one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world through the 1970s. Gradually, policymakers sought to switch from the low profit manufacturing of low cost products, toward a production with increased wages, requiring higher skill and higher productivity.

During the 1980s, it became clear that the continuing growth of Singapore’s economy required more space and workers beyond the limits of the city-state. At the same time, changing political circumstances allowed for an onset of regional economic cooperation. Through the so-called Growth Triangle agreement among the three countries, Singapore offered to provide management expertise, technology, telecommunications and transportation in exchange for land and labour offered by Johor and Riau. As a result, vast tracts of land have been opened up for development, mainly industrial production, dominated by Singaporean investment. Particularly since the early 1990s, the phenomenon of migration of the manufacturing sector from Singapore and the formation of the productive hinterlands in Johor Bahru and Riau became apparent.

Since 2006, the legal format of the cross border cooperation has been refined through the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) and the free trade zones (FTZs) that have been set up on the Malaysian and Indonesian sides in order to further capitalize on the relationship with Singapore. Owing to various incentives, involving tax reduction, abolition of customs duties, possibility of ownership, and certainly the access to land and labour, the ‘zones’ now represent a warm pool for both Singaporean firms and the multinationals.

The study attempts to analyse and describe the productive territory of Johor Bahru, the Malaysian side of the metropolitan hinterland.
IMAGES OF TERRITORY (1/2)
with Chair of Landscape Architecture
How to see, describe and even construct an urban space through moving images? Looking through the camera lens and sampling what we see into a video reportage, we explored Singapore’s fragmented borderlands. At the same time, the explorations led to questions on cultural aesthetics and hidden ideologies of images. A video work is closely tied to a territory; a moving image and a map are considered as complementary ways of seeing urban space.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank the students, collaborators and experts who contributed to Images of Territory. A special thanks to professor Christophe Girot and video artists Susanne Hofer, Marc Westhof and Marie Laverre who helped us set up and teach the course. We are grateful to guests Charles Lim, Bas Princen, Benjamin Leclair-Paquet and Naomi Hanakata, and to the Pigeonhole for hosting the final review.
STRAIT
BATAM