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Our Places

“I would like to learn about how a heritage building came about: the inspirations it expresses through the colour, shape and décor of the building. I also would like to learn about the lives conducted in the building through both peaceful and turbulent years, especially stories that manifest resilience, generosity, care and love.”

                                                                                         -Visitor to Our SG Heritage Plan travelling exhibition

Our places, or tangible heritage, comprise the historic buildings, sites and structures that contribute to our sense of history, place and identity. These include our National Monuments, conserved historic buildings, historic precincts, landscapes, heritage sites and structures, which all form part of Singapore’s rich and diverse tangible heritage.

Singapore has expended considerable efforts to preserve and promote our tangible heritage. We have one United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site – the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We have also gazetted 72 National Monuments and conserved more than 7,000 buildings. Many of these buildings have been put into adaptive reuse so that they can continue to serve current and future needs.

While we acknowledge the importance of preserving and conserving 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. To ensure a balanced approach, we will continue to work closely with relevant parties, such as heritage groups and other government agencies, 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. Countries can nominate sites, and their nominations will be evaluated by a committee. The successful sites will be listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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

National Monuments

National Monuments are buildings, sites and structures of national significance as well as socio-historical, cultural or architectural merits. These monuments are legally protected by the Preservation of Monuments Act. 

To date, 72 buildings have been gazetted as National Monuments. They include the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Sultan Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple, the former City Hall and 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 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. New and meaningful ways will also be developed with stakeholders to commemorate different aspects of our tangible heritage, so that Singaporeans and visitors can better appreciate our buildings, sites and structures, and their significance.

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

Read about Punggol: From Farming Village to Eco-Town

Read about Dakota Crescent: A Milestone of Singapore’s Housing History

Read about Historic Fort Canning Park

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Create a Tangible Heritage Inventory

Our places are important markers of identity. We need to document and share information about our tangible heritage in an accessible manner, so that the public can learn and develop a deeper appreciation of our buildings, sites and structures. We are working on developing a tangible heritage inventory for Singapore, which will serve as a comprehensive database accessible to all. The inventory will feature buildings, sites and structures of architectural, historical and cultural interests, and it will be updated on a regular basis with inputs from heritage experts, heritage groups, as well as members of community.

 

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Strengthen Research and Documentation

We will continue to strengthen our research and documentation of historic buildings, sites and structures. More importantly, we will publish our research findings in technical reports and organise workshops for stakeholders, such as the owners or occupiers of our National Monuments. These efforts will equip them with the necessary knowledge and techniques on restoring and maintaining their historical properties.

Read about Empowering National Monument Owners and Occupiers

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Enliven our Historic Precincts

We will collaborate more closely with the relevant agencies and precinct partners to introduce ways to showcase the unique characteristics of our colourful and historical precincts such as the Civic District, Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown. Our museums and heritage institutions located in or around these precincts will continue to inject more cultural vibrancy and buzz through their festivals and programmes.

Read about Enlivening Public Spaces

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Infuse Heritage in Public Places

We will partner other public agencies such as HDB, as well as heritage and community groups to showcase the history and heritage of our different estates and neighbourhoods, and 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 Land Transport Authority to incorporate heritage in public spaces, such as hawker centres and MRT stations.

Read about Playgrounds – Well-loved Landmarks of our Estates

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Promote Greater Awareness of National Monuments

We will introduce a new programme entitled Milestones Through Monuments, that will showcase Singapore’s National Monuments and highlight how different monuments have played important roles during significant episodes in Singapore’s history. We will continue to introduce outreach programmes including travelling exhibitions and social media campaigns to make monuments more interesting and accessible to the general public.

Read about National Monument Restoration Project – Cathedral of the Good Shepherd