Singapore is the world’s only island city-state. Located at the southern-most tip of continental Asia and peninsular Malaysia, it is a tropical rainforest, consistently hot and humid year round. In many respects, it really shouldn’t exist at all. The island has no energy deposits, no forests and no farms. For years, the country has had to import drinking water from neighboring Malaysia (Hatch, 2013). Today it is a leading commercial, financial and transportation hub. For the past decade, it is the only Asian country with the top AAA sovereign rating from all major credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. It ranks high on key measures of national social policies. It has the highest Human Development Index in Asia and stands 9th globally (Wikipedia).
Singapore started working for a smart sustainable future long ago. Over the last half-century, the government has worked tirelessly to transform the nation into the cosmopolitan metropolis it is today.
Singapore’s planning process is structured around a concept plan with a 40-50 year time frame. It is revised every 10 years (starting in 1971) with publication of detailed plans on smart growth every 5 years.
Sustainable Singapore Blueprint outlines Singapore’s national vision and plans for a more liveable & sustainable Singapore, to support the diverse needs and growing aspirations of Singaporeans. It was first published in 2009. In 2014, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and the Ministry of National Development led a review of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2009, which took stock of achievements over the previous five years as well as the latest developments in Singapore and around the world. As part of this review, more than 6000 people from various stakeholder groups stepped forward to participate in public consultations and focus group discussions. Publication of Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 is aimed towards renewal of the strategies laid out in the older version and tracking their progress (National Climate Change Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, 2014). Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 begins with “What if” scenarios that encourage the readers to imagine what future do they want to live in. It is guided by the vision of a Liveable and Endearing Home, a Vibrant and Sustainable City, and an Active and Gracious Community for its citizens (National Climate Change Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, 2014). The Home, City and Community themes were based on the environmental vision developed through the national exercise conducted by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to understand Singaporeans’ environmental values and to redefine a vision for our environment. (National Climate Change Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, 2014)
The Blueprint directly addresses the readers, building a sense of collective ownership and highlighting the significance of their decision in the Singapore’s future. It emphasises the need of commitment from government, partnership with industry and participation of the citizens for building a Singapore that every citizen is happy to live in. The documents invites the citizens to join in the development process, again posing questions about the future and encouraging them to imagine. It ends with targets for the year 2030, listing indicators and metrics for assessing development.
This image is from “Designing Our City – Planning for a Sustainable Singapore” Page 5. The supplement is published by Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore and can be accessed on their website here: https://www.ura.gov.sg/skyline/skyline12/skyline12-03/special/ura_designing%20our%20city%20supplement_july12.pdf
Singapore is very conscious of its limitation and it focuses on prioritising the use of limited land between competitive national needs. The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint emphasises the need to work for clean and healthy environment and the need to maximise reuse and recycle. Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 not only lays forth the action plan for Singapore’s growth in the next fifteen years, it invites and engages the citizens to be a part of the process. It recognizes achievements of the past and identifies the challenges of the future. Through the language, presentation and the visuals of the document, Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 presents the development process as a truly collaborative task.
(2014, November). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from National Climate Change Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office Singapore: https://www.nccs.gov.sg/news/pm-unveils-sustainable-singapore-blueprint-2015-renew-strategies-liveable-and-sustainable
Hatch, D. (2013, February). Economic Development. Retrieved from Governing – The states and localities: http://www.governing.com/topics/economic-dev/gov-singapore-smartest-city.html
Singapore Government. (2015). Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.
Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of National Development.
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Singapore