Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/222631
Title: ARCHITECTURE, CULTURE, IDENTITY : SINGAPORE THROUGH THE LENS OF PUBLIC HOUSING
Authors: CHANG JUN BIAO
Keywords: Architecture
Hee Limin
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2009
Citation: CHANG JUN BIAO (2009-10-23T03:31:12Z). ARCHITECTURE, CULTURE, IDENTITY : SINGAPORE THROUGH THE LENS OF PUBLIC HOUSING. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Singapore, an island state borne in difficult political circumstances, was driven to adopt a pragmatic and at times relentless approach to securing its future from the very moment separation from Malaya occurred. By building on its position as a global trading node and providing its workforce with good education and training, the state had managed to achieve remarkable economic success, but at what price? With a population made up of a cosmopolitan diaspora and their multitude of cultures, the common ground for Singaporeans thus far has been their commitment to the pursuit of material wealth, which had ensured physical comfort but left the soul empty. As concerns rise over the apparent lack of identity in Singapore, significant efforts have been directed to promote art, culture and architecture as avenues for the formation of identity. Unfortunately, such a process cannot be expected to happen overnight, and would entail the development of a dominant culture over an extended period of time. Perhaps the most significant built entity to have emerged from the rapid urbanization of Singapore has been public housing, first built with the aim of alleviating the problem of overcrowding in the city, eventually transforming the way Singaporeans lived by replacing the scores of kampongs or villages as the default mode of housing nationwide. While lauded for its affordability and for improving the living conditions, public housing in Singapore had attracted criticism in equal measure for its uninspiring architecture. In compromise, subsequent generations of Singaporeans accepted public housing for pragmatic reasons while overlooking its shortcomings. Given the success of public housing and its inherent connection to the lives of the majority of Singapore’s population, this paper focuses on public housing as a plausible starting point for identity building through architecture by tracing its progress and cultural implications at the various stages.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/222631
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