Choreographing Singapore’s Utopia by the Bay

14 April, 2020

Photo: ‘Night Skyline’ from SRN’s SG Photobank

On 18 April 2005, the Singapore government announced its plan to develop two casinos in Singapore, one on Sentosa island and the other in the district of Marina Bay. This controversial decision was made despite strong and persistent opposition from the public. In defense of its plan, the government hailed the move as one necessary to make Singapore a global city attractive to both visitors and citizens. Eventually, the casino, resort and mall comprising Marina Bay Sands opened successively in 2010 and today, the Marina Bay skyline has become the icon of modern Singapore.

In ‘Choreographing Singapore’s Utopia by the Bay’ (Tourist Utopias: Offshore Islands, Enclave Spaces, and Mobile Imaginaries, 2017), Associate Professor Daniel Goh (NUS Sociology) presents Marina Bay as a ‘tourist utopia’, a result of intentional spatial production by the government. A/P Goh argues that this is an exemplification of an emergent form of state-driven liquid urbanism increasingly common in Asian cities today. The article provides incisively illustrates the government’s ‘choreographing’ of the production of space within the urban theatre of Marina Bay—rather than simply a technocratic process of urban planning and implementation.

To find out more, read the book chapter here.