Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219974
Title: SINGAPORE �S GARDEN CITY : A HOMOGENIZED PARADISE
Authors: TOH WEI CHING FELICIA
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
Erik Gerard L'Heureux
2010/2011 DT
Garden city
Gardens
Homogenize
Homogenizing
Landscape
Master
Singapore
Spectator
Issue Date: 21-Jun-2011
Citation: TOH WEI CHING FELICIA (2011-06-21). SINGAPORE �S GARDEN CITY : A HOMOGENIZED PARADISE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: ‘Paradise’ and ‘Garden’ used to be interchangeable words, describing a utopian landscape where ideal conditions of abundance and happiness existed. Although Singapore has been fervently described as a Garden City since its independence, an undergirding conceptual framework has not been publicly acknowledged. Victor Savage wrote in 1991 that while the idea of Singapore as a Garden City had been weaving in and out of the public consciousness over the last decades, there was no overall coherent conceptualization. He therefore dwelt upon the Garden City as a reflection of landscape reality, a symbol of the neo-utopian aspirations of Singapore. But what exactly are those “neo-utopian aspirations”? Gardens are constructed landscapes, a layered text of constructed meanings that are reflective of their site. This dissertation seeks to contextualize Singapore’s garden discourse by referencing select gardens in history: the French, English and Chinese gardens, and attempts an alternate reading of the Garden in Singapore. This dissertation proposes that the Garden City fulfils more than the utilitarian function of providing greenery and shade, but is itself a reflection of an innate cultural psyche to equalize and equivocate. Delving into the Green & Blue Plan for each district, the blueprint for administration of garden spaces within the city, this dissertation questions the spatial function of parks and argues that gardens serve primarily an optical function in the landscape. The view of the park becomes a compensatory reality for homes which have been amputated from the ground, as they are elevated into high-rise public apartments. In dissolving the enclosures that traditionally surrounded royal garden estates, the Singapore Garden is a dream paradise for foreigners and locals alike, providing equal opportunity for recreation and equal access to spectatorship of the garden. The garden is seen as a visually equivocating blanket, camouflaging disparities embedded landscape for an equalised reading of the city. This dissertation then places the garden discourse in the larger setting of Singapore’s urban and social policies since its independence, and conjectures if the act of homogenizing is part of larger processes and tendencies, springing from an urge to flatten the landscape and make this paradise equal.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219974
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