This Urban Systems Study traces how the land management and administration systems in Singapore have evolved from the days when Singapore was a colonial trading port, to today, when it has become a world-class city. Starting from a laissez faire land system, early legislative reforms were introduced to provide certainty in land registration and land dealings. The limited land resources spurred the Singapore government to introduce land-related policy innovations. Land-related legislation, such as those relating to land acquisition and en bloc redevelopment, were adapted to the local context to enable development. In later decades, reforms to land management and land use planning policies were put in place to meet the needs of changing circumstances. More accurate and transparent land information systems were also made more accessible to the public and industry. The institutional framework for land management has evolved to improve the government’s responsiveness to the needs of the market and the public.
“One must reserve land for future development. The government is not looking five years or ten years ahead. Being a responsible government, we must look 30 years or 40 years ahead, and when the time comes, we must have land available for the requirements for that age.”
— E.W. Barker, Minister for Law (1964-1988)