Cultural urban regeneration practice and policy in the UK and Singapore

Pei-Chin Tay, J.Andres Coca-Stefaniak


The notion of the creative economy has gained cognisance in many countries over the last decade as part of strategic urban revitalisation and marketing frameworks. Culture-led urban regeneration has been instrumental in many European cities for recapturing investment, rejuvenating built environments and as a transformation mechanism for a transition towards a skills base more in tune with the knowledge economy (Landry et al. 1996; Gomez 1998; Miles 2005). This progressive change has been exemplified by visionary policies introduced by cities such as Glasgow, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, where the creative industries played a key strategic role. Following a review of the cultural regeneration policies and practices adopted in the United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore, with particular emphasis on the strategic role of the arts and culture, this study explores cultural regeneration practices in London and Singapore with particular emphasis on the balance between social and economic needs building on previous research by Kong (2000, 2009) and Miles (2005). The research findings show that although broad regeneration themes still hold true transnationally (e.g. cultural identity, place-branding, community engagement, industrial development, and economic stability), there are also differences, which should be considered. For instance, the gentrification of specific creative clusters took a different turn in Singapore, where practitioners sought to preserve certain pockets in this highly-urbanised city-state for their ambient settings and unique physical features. Similarly, Singapore's use of strategic city branding as part of its urban revitalisation policy remains in sharp contrast to the UK's urban regeneration approach, which accorded heavier emphasis on community participation and skills development. Finally, it is argued that Singapore could benefit from adopting a similar approach to that of the UK by developing social support mechanisms within current urban revitalisation policies that address growing social issues likely to affect Singapore as well as Southeast Asia in the 21st century.


Arts, creative industries, culture, built environments, urban renewal

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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