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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

A City in Blue and Green

The Singapore Story

  • Highlights a holistic and integrated approach in studying Singapore’s practice in environmental management, urban planning and nation-building strategies

  • Articulates the principles and lessons learnt from Singapore’s experience which could be a useful model for city leaders and urban planners to emulate

  • Covers the art of Singapore’s urban governance in developing a sustainable and liveable blue-green city with well grounded scientific facts on the technicalities behind its success

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages I-IX
  2. Introduction

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 1-9Open Access
  3. Early Days

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 10-35Open Access
  4. Visions of Clean and Green

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 36-57Open Access
  5. Water Resources and Sustainability

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 58-81Open Access
  6. Gardens, Parks and Green Reserves

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 82-113Open Access
  7. Ways Forward

    • Peter G. Rowe, Limin Hee
    Pages 114-129Open Access
  8. Back Matter

    Pages 130-152

About this book

This open access book highlights Singapore’s development into a city in which water and greenery, along with associated environmental, technical, social and political aspects have been harnessed and cultivated into a liveable sustainable way of life. It is also a story about a unique and thoroughgoing approach to large-scale and potentially transferable water sustainability, within largely urbanized circumstances, which can be achieved, along with complementary roles of environmental conservation, ecology, public open-space management and the greening of buildings, together with infrastructural improvements.


  • Garden city
  • City in nature
  • Deforestation
  • Singapore’s changing landscape
  • Clean and green
  • Post-colonial developments
  • Singapore’s constraints
  • Singapore’s closed loop system
  • Stock-Flow Depictions
  • Botanical gardens
  • Horticultural gardens
  • open access book on green cities
  • water policy
  • urban geography and urbanism


“I commend this book to anyone who is interested in the improbable story of how a small and densely populated city state has transformed itself into a clean, green, sustainable and highly liveable city.” (Tommy Koh, Professor, National University of Singapore Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore)

“Singapore pursued sustainable development long before it became fashionable. This book tells the story of Singapore’s transformation from a dirty and crowded city to a clean and green metropolis where urbanisation proceeds in harmony with nature. It is a primer on Singapore’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, through long-term planning and good governance.” (Burhan Gafoor, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations)

“A complete and assiduously researched book on Singapore’s “Blue and Green” story. This book shows how Singaporeans, in an integrated manner, cultivated vegetation and water into its urban development while managing solid economic growth. Seoulites could take a chapter from this book for our future!” (Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea)

“Water is vital to Singapore and this need has offered an opportunity for a circular and sustainable approach. The true power of water is embodied not only in Singapore’s water usage and management, but also in its value for public space, planning and climate action. Water’s capacity connecting social, economic, environmental and cultural values is manifested in the everyday existence of a beautiful, sustainable and resilient Singapore. The idea of a blue-and-green city is folded in its built environment, landscape, culture and nature. This book recounts these qualities and puts them in historic, geographic, societal and political perspectives – an inspiring story and a true inspiration for the world.” (Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, The Netherlands)

“In a fast-changing world, visionary people are needed to create the future we want to live in. Since my first visit to Singapore in the 70s, the city has transformed into an outstanding place – a good mix of density, variety, architecture, greenery and open space. The city sends out strong signals to the world – of how cities should be developed. This book tells that story.” (Wulf Daseking, Former Urban Planner of the City of Freiburg, Germany)

“From the garden city to the city in nature: more than a mere slogan, this formula captures the project underlying Singapore’s blue and green strategy from the early days of its independence to the present. Weaving together an in-depth infrastructure study with political and social history, Peter Rowe’s insightful book captures what is both unique and exemplary in Singapore’s approach to the question of water and natural resources management.” (Antoine Picon, Professor of History of Architecture and Technology, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

    Peter G. Rowe

  • Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), Singapore, Singapore

    Limin Hee

About the authors

Professor Peter G. Rowe is a Distinguished Service Professor from Harvard University, and was formerly the Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the Chairman of the Urban Planning and Design Department, and the Director of the Urban Design Programs. Professor Rowe’s research and consulting experience are extensive, diverse and international in scope. He has served as a principal investigator on projects sponsored by a wide range of U.S. government agencies, and has served as an advisor to a number of cities on matters of urban design and planning including Beijing, Guiyang, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuhan and Wenzhou in China; Incheon in South Korea and Barcelona in Spain. He was also a board member of several prominent cultural and academic institutions, like the Center for Canadian Architecture and the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics, as well as on the board of several companies involved in low-cost housing provision and the use of environmentally sustainable technologies. He is currently a high-level international expert to the Chinese government based at Tsing Hua University. His experience covers cultural interpretation and design, as well as the urban form discourse, issues of economic development, historic conservation, housing provision and resource sustainability. 

Limin Hee is Director of Research at Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), a knowledge centre for liveable and sustainable cities, where she has oversight of research strategies, content development and international collaborations. Prior to joining the CLC, she taught at the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore, where she was also a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities, as well as being jointly appointed at the Asia Research Institute. Her research is focused on liveability and sustainability and its agenda for architecture, urbanism and public space. Dr Hee has published widely on cities, including in international refereed journals and architectural reviews, and her recent books include Constructing Singapore Public Space (Springer, 2016) and Future Asian Space (NUS Press, 2012). She obtained her Doctor of Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)