Singapore as a Creative City: vignettes from the perspective of la flâneuse tropique

Sneha Chaudhury, Anita Lundberg


The tropical metropolis of Singapore is on a quest to become a creative city. Its policies explicate the need to transform into a ‘renaissance city’, a global hub of creative industries and economies. Yet, for Singapore – better known for its panoptic rather than creative imaginary – the question remains ‘how does the government’s policy of creativity translate on the ground?’ As a theory and method of critically meandering through the city in order to participate and observe quotidian practices at the street level, flânerie offers a way of engaging and contributing to an ethnography of urban life. This paper explores flânerie through the perspective of the female flâneuse. Two vignettes – one concerning heritage and the other graffiti – provide thick descriptions of encounters with creative practices in Singapore.


ethnographic flânerie; flâneur, flâneuse; creative cities; Singapore; heritage; graffiti

Full Text:



ArtScience Museum (2018). Retrieved from:

Baudelaire, C. (1964). The painter of modern life, and other essays. (Mayne, J., Ed. & Trans.) London: Phaidon Press.

Benjamin, W. (2003). The Arcades Project. (Eiland, H. & McLaughlin, K. Trans). Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Chaudhury, S. & Lundberg, A. (2018). Tropical Flânerie & the Creative Asian City: a perambulation of literature. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics. 17 (1), 74-89. DOI:

de Certeau. M. (2011)[1984]. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkley: University of California Press.

du Cros, H. & Jolliffe, L. (2014). The Arts and Events. London & New York: Routledge.

Fleischmann, K. & Mann, R. (2018). Women on Walls: The Female Subject in Modern Graffiti Art. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics. 17 (2), 83-109.

Hardwick, P. A. 2008. 'Neither Fish nor Fowl': Constructing Peranakan Identity in Colonial and Post-Colonial Singapore. Folklore Forum 38(1), 36-55.

Kong, L. (2012). Ambitions of a Global City: Arts, Culture and Creative Economy in 'Post-Crisis' Singapore. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 18(3), 279-294.

Lundberg, A. (2016). Introduction: A Tropical Lens. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics, 15 (2), 1-4. DOI:

McKercher, B & du Cros, H. (2002). Cultural Tourism: the Partnership between Tourism and Cultural Heritage Management. New York & London: Routledge Press/The Haworth Press.

Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts MICA. (2008). Renaissance City Plan III. Published by Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. Retrieved from National Arts Council website:

Wong, M. W. (2012). Negotiating class, taste, and culture via the arts scene in Singapore: Postcolonial or cosmopolitan global? Asian Theatre Journal, 29(1), 233-254. Doi10.1353/atj.2012.0026

Yi’En, C. (2014). Telling stories of the city: Walking ethnography, affective materialities, and mobile encounters. Space and Culture, 17(3), 211-223. doi:10.1177/1206331213499468



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics