Delivering Density And Holding Onto Heritage

Singapore is one of the densest cities in Asia. Yet among the legion of skyscrapers, many of which of course provide housing to its 5.7million inhabitants, are great examples of low rise and heritage buildings which have been preserved.


There are exceptions, but generally the low rise sits side-by-side with the high rise. And it works. There’s less of the wall-to-wall skyscrapers that you see in New York.

Singapore has achieved more liveable density, and they have done this by having heritage, or diversity as they call it, embedded in their planning framework.


The Centre for Liveable Cities has produced a (lengthy) guide outlining the ten principles to achieving liveable, high density cities. Embracing diversity, including heritage, is the second principle. City-wide master plans which are both credible and funded have also been at the heart of the achievement.

This has seen both a “mixed used” approach as the above image indicates, but also concentrations of high rise or heritage where that is justified – as below.



Of  course built heritage has been lost as Singapore has transformed itself from a third-world city into a first world metropolis. But today, the city provides a clear guide, through its planning framework as well as built examples, for many other cities of how to achieve both dense growth and heritage preservation.


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