Can Singapore house 6.5 million?

Posted on: 25 March, 2009 | Tagged as: ,

Yes, says economist Edward Glaeser in an interview with The Straits Times today. The professor from Havard University, who studies how cities work, said that density should not be a worry as there are many solutions available like building skyscrapers.

Instead, the question is who are we packing in? Only by having enough “smart people” can the city constantly reinvent itself to thrive. And such innovation in cities have not been very successful when it was implemented top-down. For Prof Glaeser, cities should be planned around human dynamics rather what the state thinks it should look like. 

Such thinking seems to go against how the state has been clearing street hawkers and buskers off the streets of Orchard Road of late. Is there not enough space? Not so, since the streets there were recently widened and renovated. They were reacting to a complaint from the Orchard Road Business Association that these hawkers make the shopping district “low class”. But the street businesses are just people trying to make a living and it is just good business sense to go to a space where they are crowds. That’s why the shops of the association are in Orchard too, so why not try to co-exist?