Skip to navigation – Site map

HomeIssues2017/1Special featureSingapore, a Model for (Sustainab...

Special feature

Singapore, a Model for (Sustainable?) Urban Development in China

An Overview of 20 Years of Sino-Singaporean Cooperation
Rémi Curien
Translated by Jonathan Hall
p. 25-35


In order to face the challenge of sustainable urban development on its own territory, China has chosen Singapore as its model and privileged partner. By analysing more than 20 years of cooperation, the aim of this article is to study what sort of vision and model for development China is pursuing, how the “Singaporean model” is imported and incorporated by Chinese stakeholders, and in what ways it is transforming the specificities in planning, building, and organising the country’s cities. Our analysis covers two Sino-Singaporean urban operations that are currently leading the way in China: the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin eco-city. The incorporation of the Singaporean model into these two operations shows that the latter offers an effective way of linking economic development with urban production, and of enabling the building of orderly cities with good environmental standards. However, these advances have only been made possible by the capacity to take political and financial initiatives that are still exceptional in the country as a whole, and until now do not appear to be easily extendable to other Chinese cities. Moreover, the Sino-Singaporean view of urban development based on productivity and concentrating on supply, infrastructure, and technology encounters major limitations in terms of environmental sobriety and the cities’ social integration.

Top of page


Bibliographical reference

Rémi Curien, « Singapore, a Model for (Sustainable?) Urban Development in China », China Perspectives, 2017/1 | 2017, 25-35.

Electronic reference

Rémi Curien, « Singapore, a Model for (Sustainable?) Urban Development in China », China Perspectives [Online], 2017/1 | 2017, Online since 01 March 2017, connection on 19 September 2020. URL : ; DOI :

Top of page

About the author

Rémi Curien

Rémi Curien is a geographer and urban planner with a doctorate in urban planning. He is a technical advisor on urban development in China at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (

By this author

Top of page


© All rights reserved

Top of page
  • Logo CEFC – Centre d’études français sur la Chine contemporaine
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search