I would like to thank the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore for support during the research and writing of this article. I learned a tremendous amount from my discussions with faculty and fellows during a three-month fellowship there. I owe a particular debt to Chua Beng Huat — my discussions with him and reading of his work on planning in Singapore were a rich source of ideas.
Reinterpreting the Meaning of the ‘Singapore Model’: State Capitalism and Urban Planning
Article first published online: 20 NOV 2013
© 2013 Urban Research Publications Limited
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Volume 38, Issue 1, pages 116–137, January 2014
How to Cite
Shatkin, G. (2014), Reinterpreting the Meaning of the ‘Singapore Model’: State Capitalism and Urban Planning. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38: 116–137. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12095
- Issue published online: 23 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 20 NOV 2013
- urban planning;
- property development;
- state capitalism
For city planners and policymakers in many parts of the world, Singapore has come to embody a model of efficient and growth-oriented urban development. Yet there has been very little research that goes beyond descriptive assessments of urban design and urban policy and understands the political economy that has produced the current system of planning in Singapore. This article explores the role of land acquisition and land management in Singapore's urban development. It argues that Singapore is best understood as a model of urban planning under state capitalism. Drawing largely on academic studies, reports of Singapore government agencies and government-linked corporations, and interviews the article analyzes the mechanisms through which the Singaporean state has used direct involvement in the commercial real-estate market as a powerful tool to gain access to revenue, achieve urban redevelopment objectives and exert powerful influence over the Singaporean society and economy. Through the commercial exploitation of state landholdings and through stakes in state-owned and private enterprises, the Singaporean state has harnessed urban development to an agenda of political hegemony, nation building and economic development within a framework of globalization.