Re-thinking Urban Planning for Singapore’s Extended Lifespan Population of 2050: A League of Its Own




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.

Author Biography

André Siew Yeong Yew, James Cook University Singapore

André Yew is a graduate of the Master of Planning & Urban Design, James Cook University Singapore. He majored in disaster resilience and tropical urbanism. Prior to the pursuit of the degree in urban planning and design, he had worked internationally in the architecture design industry. He received his earlier Master of Fine Arts in architectural illumination and a Bachelor of Science in interior design from the United States. His professional and personal experience inspires him to approach topics in urbanism from the perspective of design development and project management, as well as through empathy towards humanity and the environment. His international exposure also inspires him to continuously seek holistic approaches towards sustainability. Currently, he is a member of a geoscience and environmental sustainability technology consultancy in Singapore. He is also a sessional lecturer in urban planning at James Cook University Singapore.


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How to Cite

Yew, A. S. Y. (2020). Re-thinking Urban Planning for Singapore’s Extended Lifespan Population of 2050: A League of Its Own. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 19(2), 249–273.