Re-thinking Urban Planning for Singapore’s Extended Lifespan Population of 2050: A League of Its Own
Keywords:healthy aging, urban planning, Singapore, tropical urbanism
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization’s Healthy Aging and Age Friendly Environment are comprehensive guidelines in ascertaining global standards for betterment of aging populations. However, as an economically established and highly organised city-state, Singapore has its own separate set of criteria regarding successful aging. This paper explores the contexts of living, working, and playing in Singapore’s current 65 and over population and the population over the age of 65 by 2050. The study demonstrates that these elderly life contexts are not only dissimilar to those on which the UN and WHO guidelines are based, but are uniquely Singaporean. These life, work and play contexts of an aging population also generate a new set of criteria that impact the model in urban planning and design for the tropical island-state. In this paper I argue that Singapore’s current 65 and over population is not the typical aging population, but one characterised by an extended lifespan with autonomy, employability, and vitality. These characteristics will be even more prominent for the country’s over the age of 65 by 2050 population, which will be comprised of the current Gen X and Millennials. To maintain sustainability and adaptability, urbanisation strategies in Singapore need to take into consideration these different generations of an aging population, which necessitate that planning and design recognise sets of criteria unique to each generation.
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