The 21st-century Garden City? The metaphor of the garden in contemporary Singaporean urbanism

Richard Weller, S. Velegrinis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From 1963 onwards, Singapore officially thought of and broadcast itself as a ‘Garden City’. Recently this title has been amended to ‘City in a Garden’. Singapore's landscape is thus perceived as the nation's garden. This paper exposes the incongruity of this branding in the light of Singapore's ecology and culture, and then explores the range of ways in which the idea of the garden continues to operate as a primary metaphor in Singaporean design culture. The paper surveys a range of high profile public projects by planners, architects and landscape architects which all overtly manipulate the idea of the garden to achieve formal outcomes. We focus on and criticise the ways in which the idea of the garden is being variously used decorate or structure Singaporean urbanism. Our analysis highlights Singapore as a fertile test site for increasingly sophisticated landscape design experiments. Until now, Singaporean urbanism has not been addressed from a landscape architectural perspective and, as an introduction to this vein of research and practice, this paper is deliberately wide-ranging and lightfooted. The paper concludes that, although the theoretical discourse of landscape urbanism has not yet arrived in Singapore, the design experiments being conducted there indicate that an Asiatic practice of landscape urbanism is now emerging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-41
JournalJournal of Landscape Architecture
Volume2007
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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