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Our places refer to Singapore’s tangible heritage and comprise historic buildings, structures, sites, landscapes and precincts. In total, Singapore has gazetted 72 National Monuments and conserved more than 7,000 buildings through the preservation and conservation efforts of the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Under Our SG Heritage Plan, more efforts will be devoted to the safeguarding of Singapore’s tangible heritage over the next five years (2018 – 2022) through research, planning and mitigation measures. We will also work closely with stakeholders to develop new and meaningful ways to commemorate different aspects of our tangible heritage.

Our places are important because they serve as critical markers of identity and strengthen our sense of belonging. They also create strong place identities for neighbourhoods, contribute to cultural tourism, and enhance the character of Singapore’s urban landscape.

However, while we acknowledge the importance of our places, we also recognise that there will always be a need to balance heritage preservation with future developments especially given Singapore’s land constraints and population growth. Hence, we endeavor to work closely with the relevant parties to facilitate robust discussions and ensure desirable outcomes.

 

Types of historical buildings or places

 

Type

Description

Achievement

World Heritage Site

World Heritage Sites are places of outstanding and universal value to humanity. The status is conferred by UNESCO.  Countries nominate sites, and their proposals will be evaluated by a committee. The successful sites will be listed on the World Heritage List.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 4, 2015 — making it the first place in Singapore to be conferred the status. It is also the first and only tropical botanic gardens on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

National Monument

National Monuments are buildings and sites of national significance; those with socio-historical, cultural or architectural merit are also considered. These monuments are legally protected by the Preservation of Monuments Act.

To date, 72 buildings have been preserved as National Monuments. They include the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Sultan Mosque, Former City Hall & Supreme Court and Jurong Town Hall.

Conserved Buildings

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) oversees the conservation of buildings and areas. Conserved buildings need to follow the “3R” principles of “maximum Retention, sensitive Restoration and careful Repair”.

More than 7,000 buildings have been conserved, many of which are in the conserved Historic Districts, such as Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam.

 

What will Our SG Heritage Plan do?

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Incorporate Heritage Considerations into Planning

We will work closely with the planning agencies to incorporate heritage considerations into development plans at an early stage. The aim is to achieve a balance between meeting Singapore’s development needs and maintaining the history and character of our places. We will also work with these agencies to improve consultation efforts with stakeholders, experts and interested members of the public.

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Develop a Tangible Heritage Inventory

We will develop a new inventory that will feature the findings from our nationwide Tangible Heritage Survey which was completed in end 2017 and will serve as a comprehensive database accessible to all Singaporeans. The inventory will feature buildings and sites of architectural, historical and cultural interest, and will be updated on a regular basis with inputs from heritage experts and community groups.

 

 

 

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Strengthen Research & Documentation

We will continue to strengthen our research and documentation efforts for historical buildings, sites and structures. More importantly, we will publish our research findings in technical reports and organise workshops for people who own or operate in our National Monuments. This will keep them up to date with the latest information on restoring and maintaining their historical properties.

Read about Bidadari Estate – A New Estate with a Rich History

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Enliven our Historic Precincts

The Civic District, Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown are colourful historic precincts in Singapore. We will collaborate more closely with relevant agencies and precinct partners to introduce ways to showcase the characters of these cultural areas. The main museums and institutions in these areas, as well as their festivals and programmes, will also inject more vibrancy and buzz to these precincts.

Read about Civic District – Linking Singapore’s Past with our Aspirations for the Future

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Infuse Heritage in Public Places

We will partner other agencies such the Housing & Development Board and community groups to showcase and commemorate the history and heritage of our different estates and neighbourhoods to create endearing places with unique identities. In addition, we will continue to develop new heritage trails and work with agencies such as the National Environment Agency and SMRT to incorporate heritage in public spaces such as hawker centres and MRT stations respectively.

Read about Playgrounds – Well-loved Landmarks of our Estates