Metropolis – Singapore

Host Julian Davison explores one of Asia’s most modern cities, Singapore. In the last half century this small island state, situated in the heart of the tropics close to the equator, has transformed itself into a well organised, vibrant, business and banking hub servicing the Asian region.

Singapore was established as a British trading post by Englishman, Sir Stanford Raffles, in the early 19th century. Raffles mapped out the city’s districts along ethnic lines, where its populations of Chinese, Indians and Malays, brought in as a labour force, and Europeans , lived separately. Although some of these districts, such as Chinatown, and Little India, still survive today, Singapore has become in the 20th and 21st centuries one of the world’s leading multi-cultural nations.

Julian explores the architecture of the Anglo-Asian Chinese shop-houses in the historic Chinatown, district situated close to the Singapore River, which was the hub of trading activity. He then visits a classic Singapore black and white house, a hybrid distinct to Singapore. Only a few dozen of these colonial houses survive. Although modelled on English Tudor houses, their design was heavily modified to take account of Singapore’s equatorial climate.

Singapore is a world leader in the design of public housing projects, as many of its citizens live in tower blocks. Nowadays it is leading the world in eco-friendly high-rise. We visit one such project where the amount of green space has been increased on the building site despite the construction of a 37-floor building.

Singapore is forever transforming itself and its latest futuristic development is a massive casino, or ”integrated resort” development on its harbour foreshores, with an extraordinary skypark which sits hundreds of feet above the city.

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