New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti
Chapter 13: Evolving Singapore: The Creative City
Hing Ai Yun INTRODUCTION Since the 1960s, Singapore has successfully established a model of industrial development that works eﬃciently and eﬀectively. It was picked as top Asian city for expats in a survey covering more than 350 cities, with Zurich and Geneva as the top two cities (based on an evaluation of 39 criteria, including political, social, economic and environmental factors). S.K. Neo, head of Mercer Human Capital Product Solutions Asia-Paciﬁc, which did the study, said Singapore’s positioning as the highest ranked Asian city ‘is mainly due to its strong political and social environment, its repositioning as a knowledge-based economy, excellent health services and vibrant cultural scene’ (Xinxua PRNewswire, 2006). More recently Singapore made it to no. 2 for nightlife and dining on the Global Country Brand Index compiled by FutureBrand and public relations ﬁrm Weber Shandwick (Straits Times Interactive, 11 November 2006). FutureBrand’s Vice President, D. Mason, said the ﬂourishing arts scene had helped as had mega events such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings. Yet, doubts have been expressed as to whether the city state could achieve a successful transition to a more knowledge-based and culturally vibrant economy. The state’s expressed concern was whether it could achieve the same level of success in the ﬁeld of cultural development as it has done with technical innovation and progress. ‘Cultural development is less amenable than economic development to “short cuts” such as knowledge transfer and foreign direct investment’ (Renaissance City Report [RCR], 2000:...
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