Case Studies


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  • Tara Thean
Using the story of Kampung Lorong Buangkok, a traditional village on Singapore's mainland that sits on land slated for future redevelopment into schools and a road, this case study explores the challenge of balancing heritage and modernity in a rapidly developing city-state.
  • Tara Thean
Many cities are noisy. In Singapore, the average outdoor noise levels during the day are about equal to the noise one could expect from a vacuum cleaner. Excessive noise levels can have serious health consequences, ranging from higher risks of hypertension and cardiovascular disease to hearing impairment, low-quality sleep, and changes in social behaviour. Further, a noisy environment can affect non-human life such as birds that rely on vocalizations for sexual selection and predator awareness. This case study discusses measures that have been taken to mitigate noise pollution and the challenges of doing so in a densely populated city as it continues developing.
  • Jean Chia
Innovation districts, where density and proximity were prized for fostering knowledge sharing and innovation, have been fast gaining popularity globally. Between 2016 and 2018, the Singapore government announced plans for Punggol Digital District, touted as Singapore’s own “mini Silicon Valley”, and Jurong Innovation District which was envisaged as an “industrial park of the future”. More than a decade earlier, the government embarked on developing the $15 billion one-north as the centrepiece of Singapore's initiative to promote biomedical sciences and technology entrepreneurship. Adopting a novel approach to business parks, one-north attempted to create a “live-work-play-learn” environment that would in turn engender a culture and community for research and innovation to power a new economic growth engine. Given the high stakes and large public investments poured into developing innovation districts, would they give Singapore a competitive edge in the global economy? What was the role of the public sector in spurring innovation? What were the implications or trade-offs in developing innovation districts? This case study discusses these issues using one-north as the primary example.
  • Tara Thean
Plastic bags are tremendously useful, but damage the environment. This case study describes the efforts of five countries—Hong Kong, Ireland, Denmark, Kenya, and Singapore—to regulate and reduce plastic bag use.
  • Woo Jun Jie
Known to be highly open and dynamic, Singapore’s economy is driven by a state-centric approach to economic governance that emphasises regulatory transparency, effective and timely policy interventions, and a robust economic infrastructure. However, despite sound macroeconomic foundations, Singapore’s openness and complexity also makes it highly vulnerable to the ‘contagion’ effects of global and regional economic crises. This case study provides a brief overview of Singapore’s general approach to economic governance, and discusses the government’s response to three key economic crises—the 1985 Economic Crisis, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
  • Jennifer Dodgson
The second section of a two-part study of Singapore’s immigration policies, this case looks at immigration’s role in the nation’s economy. Since the 1970s, the government has used immigration to help drive growth and smooth the business cycle, thus reinforcing the economic credentials of the ruling People’s Action Party. While the use of foreign labour helped the country to increase its GDP, it also had negative side effects and unintended consequences. This case study examines the economic and social effects of immigration in Singapore, and the policies that have been enacted to maximise the benefits from immigration while mitigating the downsides.