With a land area of 725.7km2, barely half the size of London (1572km2), Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world. Located in South-East Asia, this island city-state appears on the world map as a single red dot.
Apart from its tiny size, Singapore is also a young nation. A former British colony and state of Malaysia, Singapore gained independence only in 1965. Yet, in just three decades, Singapore’s GDP per capita soared from US$516 to a whopping US$24,914 in 1995, standing at US$65,233 today (World Bank, 2020). Despite its size, Singapore has a population of 5.69 million, being one of the densest cities globally (Singapore Department of Statistics, 2020).
Unsurprisingly, rapid economic development and population growth have seen massive transformations in Singapore’s landscape. Fishing villages and kampongs (traditional rural villages) have been replaced by public housing and towering skyscrapers.
That said, Singapore is one of the greenest cities, with its canopy coverage second only to Tampa, Florida (Treepedia, 2018).
Indeed, for decades, Singapore has branded itself as the Garden City, taking pride in its extensive efforts to weave greenery into its urban fabric (NParks, 2014).
The urban-nature relationship in Singapore is however, far from simple. As Swyngedouw and Heynen (2003:899) highlighted through the lens of urban political ecology, ‘cities are dense networks of interwoven sociospatial processes that are simultaneously local and global, human and physical, cultural and organic’. As the following posts will reveal, nature has been contested, produced and metabolised in complex and often obscured ways in this Little Red Dot.
NParks (2014) ‘Singapore the Garden City’ (WWW) Singapore: National Parks Board (https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2008/7/singapore-the-garden-city ; 31 Oct 2020).
Singapore Department of Statistics (2020) ‘Singapore Population’ (WWW) Singapore: Department of Statistics (https://www.singstat.gov.sg/modules/infographics/population ; 31 Oct 2020).
Swyngedouw, E. and N.C. Heynen (2003) ‘Urban Political Ecology, Justice and the Politics of Scale’, Antipode, 898-918.
Treepedia (2018) ‘Exploring the Green Canopy in cities around the world’ (WWW) Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Senseable City Lab (http://senseable.mit.edu/treepedia/cities/singapore ; 31 Oct 2020).
World Bank (2020) ‘GDP per capita (current US$) – Singapore’ (WWW) (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?locations=SG ; 31 Oct 2020).