Town Planning Review

Rethinking spatial planning for urban conviviality and social diversity: a study of nightlife in a Singapore public housing estate neighbourhood

Town Planning Review (2016), 87, (4), 379–399.

Abstract

In Singapore, land constraints have steered planning policies toward higher-density living such that strangers must coexist in even closer proximity than ever before. As arenas for the enactment of everyday routines, neighbourhood nightlife spaces have the potential to generate a convivial atmosphere for social interactions among different users. Drawing on fieldwork in Toa Payoh Central, we begin by examining the physical environment as the point of departure for our observations on the social and civic qualities of a quotidian neighbourhood after dark, and from which we then discuss spatial planning for inclusive public spaces at night. The findings reveal that good quality public spaces can help promote urban conviviality and social diversity in a globalising city like Singapore.

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CHIN, D. (2012), ‘Clutter in HDB spaces an unfriendly act’, The Straits Times, 19 May. Clutter in HDB spaces an unfriendly act The Straits Times Google Scholar

DOS (DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS) (2014), Population Trends 2014, Singapore, Ministry of Trade and Industry. Google Scholar

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HOLLANDS, R. and CHATTERTON, P. (2003), ‘Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 361–85. Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27 361 85 Google Scholar

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LOFLAND, L. H. (1998), The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory, New York, Aldine de Gruyter. The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory Google Scholar

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LYNCH, K. (1960), The Image of the City, Cambridge, MA, Technology Press. The Image of the City Google Scholar

MADANIPOUR, A. (2010), Whose Public Space? International Case Studies in Urban Design and Development, New York, Routledge. Whose Public Space? International Case Studies in Urban Design and Development Google Scholar

MARSHALL, R. (2003), Emerging Urbanity: Global Urban Projects in the Asia Pacific Rim, New York, Spon Press. Emerging Urbanity: Global Urban Projects in the Asia Pacific Rim Google Scholar

MASSEY, D. (1984), Spatial Divisions of Labour: Social Structures and the Geography of Production, London, Macmillan. Spatial Divisions of Labour: Social Structures and the Geography of Production Google Scholar

MONTGOMERY, J. (1995), ‘Urban vitality and the culture of cities’, Planning Practice and Research, 10, 101–9. Urban vitality and the culture of cities Planning Practice and Research 10 101 9 Google Scholar

NPTD (NATIONAL POPULATION AND TALENT DIVISION) (2013), A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore, Singapore, Prime Minister’s Office. Google Scholar

RAPOPORT, A. (1977), Human Aspects of Urban Form: Towards a Man-Environment Approach to Urban Form and Design, Oxford, Pergamon Press. Human Aspects of Urban Form: Towards a Man-Environment Approach to Urban Form and Design Google Scholar

SANDERCOCK, L. (2006), ‘Cosmopolitan urbanism: a love song to our mongrel cities’, in J. Binnie, J. Holloway, S. Millington and C. Young (eds), Cosmopolitan Urbanism, New York, Routledge, 37–52. Cosmopolitan urbanism: a love song to our mongrel cities Cosmopolitan Urbanism 37 52 Google Scholar

SENNETT, R. (1992), The Fall of Public Man, New York, W. W. Norton. The Fall of Public Man Google Scholar

SIMMEL, G. (1950), ‘The stranger’, in K. H. Wolff (ed.), The Sociology of Georg Simmel, Glencoe, Free Press, 402–8. The stranger The Sociology of Georg Simmel 402 8 Google Scholar

SOJA, E. W. (2010), Seeking Spatial Justice, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press. Seeking Spatial Justice Google Scholar

TALBOT, D. (2007), Regulating the Night: Race, Culture and Exclusion in the Making of the Night Time Economy, Aldershot, Ashgate. Regulating the Night: Race, Culture and Exclusion in the Making of the Night Time Economy Google Scholar

TPTC (TOA PAYOH TOWN COUNCIL) (1994), Toa Payoh Town: From Swamp Land to Modern Living, Singapore: Toa Payoh Town Council. Google Scholar

VALENTINE, G. (2008), ‘Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter’, Progress in Human Geography, 32, 323–37. Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter Progress in Human Geography 32 323 37 Google Scholar

WALZER, M. (1995), ‘Pleasures and costs of urbanity’, in P. Kasinitz (ed.), Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times, New York, New York University Press, 320–30. Pleasures and costs of urbanity Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times 320 30 Google Scholar

ZACCHEUS, M. (2014), ‘Toa Payoh merchants to restore tree shrine’, The Straits Times, 2 May. Toa Payoh merchants to restore tree shrine The Straits Times Google Scholar

AMIN, A. (2012), Land of Strangers, Cambridge, Polity Press. Land of Strangers Google Scholar

AMIN, A. and THRIFT, N. (2002), Cities: Reimagining the Urban, Cambridge, Polity Press. Cities: Reimagining the Urban Google Scholar

ANDERSON, T. L. (2009), ‘Better to complicate, rather than homogenize, urban nightlife: a response to Grazian’, Sociological Forum, 24, 918–25. Better to complicate, rather than homogenize, urban nightlife: a response to Grazian Sociological Forum 24 918 25 Google Scholar

BIANCHINI, F. (1995), ‘Night cultures, night economies’, Planning Practice and Research, 10, 121–26. Night cultures, night economies Planning Practice and Research 10 121 26 Google Scholar

CARMONA, M., TIESDELL, S., HEATH, T. and OC, T. (2010), Public Places Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design, Oxford, Architectural Press. Public Places Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design Google Scholar

CHATTERTON, P. and HOLLANDS, R. (2002), ‘Theorising urban playscapes: producing, regulating and consuming youthful nightlife city spaces’, Urban Studies, 39, 95–116. Theorising urban playscapes: producing, regulating and consuming youthful nightlife city spaces Urban Studies 39 95 116 Google Scholar

CHEW, M. M. (2009), ‘Research on Chinese nightlife cultures and night-time economies’, Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, 42, 3–21. Research on Chinese nightlife cultures and night-time economies Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 42 3 21 Google Scholar

CHIN, D. (2012), ‘Clutter in HDB spaces an unfriendly act’, The Straits Times, 19 May. Clutter in HDB spaces an unfriendly act The Straits Times Google Scholar

DOS (DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS) (2014), Population Trends 2014, Singapore, Ministry of Trade and Industry. Google Scholar

EDENSOR, T. (2010), ‘Walking in rhythms: place, regulation, style and the flow of experience’, Visual Studies, 25, 69–79. Walking in rhythms: place, regulation, style and the flow of experience Visual Studies 25 69 79 Google Scholar

ELDRIDGE, A. (2010), ‘The urban renaissance and the night-time economy: who belongs in the city at night?’, in T. Manzi, K. Lucas, T. Lloyd-Jones and J. Allen (eds), Social Sustainability in Urban Areas: Communities, Connectivity and the Urban Fabric, Sterling, Earthscan, 183–98. The urban renaissance and the night-time economy: who belongs in the city at night? Social Sustainability in Urban Areas: Communities, Connectivity and the Urban Fabric 183 98 Google Scholar

FRIEDMANN, J. (2002), The Prospect of Cities, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press. The Prospect of Cities Google Scholar

GALLAN, B. and GIBSON, C. (2011), ‘New dawn or new dusk? Beyond the binary of day and night’, Environment and Planning A, 43, 2509–15. New dawn or new dusk? Beyond the binary of day and night Environment and Planning A 43 2509 15 Google Scholar

GEHL, J. (2010), Cities for People, Washington, DC, Island Press. Cities for People Google Scholar

GIERYN, T. F. (1995), ‘What buildings do’, Theory and Society, 31, 35–74. What buildings do Theory and Society 31 35 74 Google Scholar

GOS (GOVERNMENT OF SINGAPORE) (2014), ‘2.3 Profile of HDB elderly and future elderly resident population’, http://data.gov.sg/Agency_Data/HDB/0701090000000006312T.PDF (accessed 13 September 2015). Google Scholar

GRAZIAN, D. (2009), ‘Urban nightlife, social capital, and the public life of cities’, Sociological Forum, 24, 908–17. Urban nightlife, social capital, and the public life of cities Sociological Forum 24 908 17 Google Scholar

HADFIELD, P. (2015), ‘The night-time city. Four modes of exclusion: reflections on the Urban Studies special collection’, Urban Studies, 52, 606–16. The night-time city. Four modes of exclusion: reflections on the Urban Studies special collection Urban Studies 52 606 16 Google Scholar

HARVEY, D. (1989), ‘From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: the transformation of urban governance in late capitalism’, Geografiskar Annaler, Series B, Human Geography, 71, 3–17. From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: the transformation of urban governance in late capitalism Geografiskar Annaler, Series B, Human Geography 71 3 17 Google Scholar

HDB (HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT BOARD) (2010), ‘Policy changes to support an inclusive and cohesive home’, http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10296p.nsf/PressReleases/C515273FA068DD58482576DD00169155?OpenDocument (accessed 11 February 2015). Google Scholar

HDB (HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD) (2014) ‘Ethnic Integration Policy and SPR Quota’, http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10322p.nsf/w/SellFlatEthnicIntegrationPolicy_EIP (accessed 1 December 2014). Google Scholar

HEMKER, A. and KOOPMAN, D. (2005), ‘The creative class and nightlife’, in S. Franke and E. Verhagen (eds), Creativity and the City: How the Creative Economy Changes the City, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers, 100–7. The creative class and nightlife Creativity and the City: How the Creative Economy Changes the City , Rotterdam, NAi Publishers, 100 7 Google Scholar

HENG, C. K. (2015) ‘Urban planning and liveability’, in D. Chan (ed.), Liveability in Singapore: Social and Behavioural Issues, Singapore, World Scientific, 55–59. Urban planning and liveability Liveability in Singapore: Social and Behavioural Issues 55 59 Google Scholar

HO, K. C. and DOUGLASS, M. (2008), ‘Globalisation and liveable cities: experiences in place-making in Pacific Asia’, International Development Planning Review, 30, 199–213. Globalisation and liveable cities: experiences in place-making in Pacific Asia International Development Planning Review 30 199 213 Google Scholar

HOLLANDS, R. and CHATTERTON, P. (2003), ‘Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 361–85. Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27 361 85 Google Scholar

KONG, L. and YEOH, B. S. A. (2003), The Politics of Landscapes in Singapore: Constructions of ‘Nation’, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press. The Politics of Landscapes in Singapore: Constructions of ‘Nation’ Google Scholar

LOFLAND, L. H. (1998), The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory, New York, Aldine de Gruyter. The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory Google Scholar

LOVATT, A. and O’CONNOR, J. (1995), ‘Cities and the night-time economy’, Planning Practice and Research, 10, 127–34. Cities and the night-time economy Planning Practice and Research 10 127 34 Google Scholar

LYNCH, K. (1960), The Image of the City, Cambridge, MA, Technology Press. The Image of the City Google Scholar

MADANIPOUR, A. (2010), Whose Public Space? International Case Studies in Urban Design and Development, New York, Routledge. Whose Public Space? International Case Studies in Urban Design and Development Google Scholar

MARSHALL, R. (2003), Emerging Urbanity: Global Urban Projects in the Asia Pacific Rim, New York, Spon Press. Emerging Urbanity: Global Urban Projects in the Asia Pacific Rim Google Scholar

MASSEY, D. (1984), Spatial Divisions of Labour: Social Structures and the Geography of Production, London, Macmillan. Spatial Divisions of Labour: Social Structures and the Geography of Production Google Scholar

MONTGOMERY, J. (1995), ‘Urban vitality and the culture of cities’, Planning Practice and Research, 10, 101–9. Urban vitality and the culture of cities Planning Practice and Research 10 101 9 Google Scholar

NPTD (NATIONAL POPULATION AND TALENT DIVISION) (2013), A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore, Singapore, Prime Minister’s Office. Google Scholar

RAPOPORT, A. (1977), Human Aspects of Urban Form: Towards a Man-Environment Approach to Urban Form and Design, Oxford, Pergamon Press. Human Aspects of Urban Form: Towards a Man-Environment Approach to Urban Form and Design Google Scholar

SANDERCOCK, L. (2006), ‘Cosmopolitan urbanism: a love song to our mongrel cities’, in J. Binnie, J. Holloway, S. Millington and C. Young (eds), Cosmopolitan Urbanism, New York, Routledge, 37–52. Cosmopolitan urbanism: a love song to our mongrel cities Cosmopolitan Urbanism 37 52 Google Scholar

SENNETT, R. (1992), The Fall of Public Man, New York, W. W. Norton. The Fall of Public Man Google Scholar

SIMMEL, G. (1950), ‘The stranger’, in K. H. Wolff (ed.), The Sociology of Georg Simmel, Glencoe, Free Press, 402–8. The stranger The Sociology of Georg Simmel 402 8 Google Scholar

SOJA, E. W. (2010), Seeking Spatial Justice, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press. Seeking Spatial Justice Google Scholar

TALBOT, D. (2007), Regulating the Night: Race, Culture and Exclusion in the Making of the Night Time Economy, Aldershot, Ashgate. Regulating the Night: Race, Culture and Exclusion in the Making of the Night Time Economy Google Scholar

TPTC (TOA PAYOH TOWN COUNCIL) (1994), Toa Payoh Town: From Swamp Land to Modern Living, Singapore: Toa Payoh Town Council. Google Scholar

VALENTINE, G. (2008), ‘Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter’, Progress in Human Geography, 32, 323–37. Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter Progress in Human Geography 32 323 37 Google Scholar

WALZER, M. (1995), ‘Pleasures and costs of urbanity’, in P. Kasinitz (ed.), Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times, New York, New York University Press, 320–30. Pleasures and costs of urbanity Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times 320 30 Google Scholar

ZACCHEUS, M. (2014), ‘Toa Payoh merchants to restore tree shrine’, The Straits Times, 2 May. Toa Payoh merchants to restore tree shrine The Straits Times Google Scholar

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