Property Australia

Lessons from one of the world's great cities


From colonial trading outpost to one of the world’s global financial hubs, and from congested city slum to global green powerhouse. How did Singapore do it?

One of the 20th century’s greatest success stories, over just 50 years Singapore has evolved from a swampland filled with squatters to a sea of skyscrapers and one of the wealthiest economies on the planet.

Both a country and a city, Singapore is home to 5.5 million people living in less than 750 square kilometres of land. By 2030, the island, about half the size of metropolitan London, will accommodate a predicted 6.9 million people.

Those space constraints, however, come with advantages. In Singapore, where everyone is a city-dweller, density brings levels of convenience, efficiency and liveability – not to mention sustainability – that make the Garden City the envy of the world.

Concept plans for Singapore have been in place since 1971, with long-term vision backed by intensive investment in mass rapid transit, infrastructure, utilities and technology.

Singapore is now exporting its expertise in urban planning to other cities facing rapid urbanisation.

And now, following on from the success of the New York study tour in July, the Property Council is hosting the next instalment in Singapore in March 2019.

The tour will take in some of the world’s most iconic tall buildings. The sensational Marina Bay Sands, which cost $8.15 billion to deliver, wows with a 340-metre-long SkyPark that can accommodate 3,900 people and the world’s longest elevated swimming pool.

Meanwhile, Pinnacle@Duxton is a stand-out skyscraper that looks like a private estate but is actually the world’s tallest public housing development. It’s seven 50-storey high towers are linked at the 26th and 50th levels by skybridges – each one home to a sky garden.

The Property Council’s chief executive, Ken Morrison, says the tour is an opportunity to “learn from some of the best city-builders in the business” at a time when Australian cities were experiencing rapid population growth, densification and urban renewal.

Morrison says the tour underscores the work ahead for Australian cities in the ‘metropolitan century’, and reinforces the findings of Creating Great Australian Cities, a series of reports authored by Professor Greg Clark and commissioned by the Property Council.

“Singapore has undergone rapid social and economic transformation over half a century. There is much we can learn about how Singaporeans couple entrepreneurial thinking and innovative design with a strong commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability to build one of the world’s great cities,” Morrison says.

Registrations for the Property Council’s Singapore Study Tour, available to members only, are now open, and will close Friday 8 March 2019, or until sold out. Only 30 delegates can join the tour, so don’t miss out. Learn more.