Resettling Communities: Creating Space for Nation Building


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When Singapore attained self-government in 1959 and subsequently independence in 1965, it was dotted with squatter settlements, backyard industries, street hawkers and rural farms. Overrun with congested slums, the city centre was in desperate need of renewal.

Over the next three decades, large-scale clearance and resettlement initiatives were carried out. The process was not without its challenges. While clearance and resettlement were carried out with a firm hand guided by clear and fair policies and processes, it was also tempered with due consideration for the impact on those displaced. The government provided resettlement benefits tailored for farmers, residential occupants and businesses, and offered a wide range of resettlement facilities. These resettlement policies and benefits were revised periodically to be kept up to date.

Successful clearance and resettlement enabled Singapore’s physical and economic transformation, paving the way for the development of HDB new towns, industrial estates, infrastructure projects, and a rejuvenated city centre.