“Singapore is a relentlessly G-rated experience, micromanaged by a state that has the look and feel of a very large corporation. If IBM had ever bothered to actually possess a physical country, that country might have had a lot in common with Singapore”
William Gibson first compares Singapore to the artificiality of virtual reality where everything is pristine and organised. On a surface, Singapore does gives off the vibes of ‘ctrl c’ ‘ctrl v’. Walk into the heart lands of Singapore, almost every public housing estate looks the same: Tall rectangular boxes towering in the sky. Many would describe housing in Singapore to be ubiquitous lego blocks lacking individuality.
Given Singapore history, our need of survival has out weight our need for creative expression. This monotony in Singapore architecture was a very practical answer to Singaporean needs. HDB was not built to be aesthetic, it was build to curb Singapore housing shortage after WWII. It was a utilitarian answer to our needs.
Singapore government utilitarian way of identifying problems and solving them, has greatly ignored what Singaporeans what. During the shift from Kampong housing to HDB, many were forced to give up their lives and communities in the kampong and shift to a new community in their HDB.
Is the best way to problem solve the most utilitarian one? Singapore can afford more empathy when designing their solutions. Is this what the user wants? How would the user feel? These are the most important question we must ask ourselves when we are problem solving.