Built Heritage Conservation, Urban Development, and Tourism: Singapore in the 21st Century

Author: Henderson, Joan C.

Source: Tourism Culture & Communication, 1 May 2012, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 137-147(11)


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The article discusses the dynamics of the relationship between heritage conservation and urban development and consequences for tourism with particular reference to the city-state of Singapore. Government policies are examined and reveal that heritage is seen by officials to serve multiple purposes, not least as a tourist resource. Its economic role is appreciated, but awareness of sociocultural and political value is also apparent. Conflicts arise, however, between the demands of urban development in pursuit of economic growth and heritage conservation. The former tend to have priority in decision making, which can lead to negative outcomes. Specific examples of historic waterfront properties and their transformation into tourism and leisure spaces are employed as illustrations which also suggest the dilemmas inherent in the adaptive reuse of old buildings. While Singapore is a distinctive case, its study affords insights into general challenges of conserving built heritage in rapidly developing cities with a global orientation that are also international tourist destinations.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/109830412X13346876802112

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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