Place strategy

Authenticity of our place | Company Applicant

The facade of the shophouses is retained, while the interior spaces feature an adaptive reuse of the buildings.
—Photos by Ar. Love of Jesus

Half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and we are becoming more aware of the contribution we all make of what our great-grandparents left us and what we will leave to our grandchildren.

The city is not only a place of sites and monuments or natural elements. There are also intangible aspects like its history, events and communities. Each of us has personal memories that give meaning to our city. For those of my generation, we shared memories of our youth spent in the cinemas of Escolta and Rizal Avenue.

Today we discuss how our history is revisited. Let’s also examine our sense of belonging to the city we live in, its history and its structures.

Heritage of the place

What do we see as the heritage of a place, or the buildings and sites that our city is proud of? What are the heritage assets, monuments and buildings that we preserve for historical, architectural, cultural and natural timelessness? These places affect our sense of belonging and our attachment to our city.

Previously, heritage conservation was done with little relation to the surrounding landscape. Large cities are now developing their territorial heritage with strong intertwining between the natural and the immaterial.

The redevelopment and conservation framework is multidimensional and includes buildings, circulation patterns, streetscapes, open spaces and views.

The redevelopment and conservation framework is multidimensional and includes buildings, circulation patterns, streetscapes, open spaces and views.

We are now interested in the authenticity of current events and even historical films. Let’s also try to keep the authenticity of the place in our cities so that we know who we are, and so that we develop a strong sense of belonging. Let’s keep and protect a good set of values ​​that the best members of our communities have kept for many years and keep those good values ​​for generations to come. The integrity of our stewardship of the local heritage that we pass on to future generations depends on us.

A filmmaker named Herzog said the world reveals itself to those who travel on foot. A writer on cities named Calvo wrote that the city contains its past like the lines of a hand.

While walking through parts of the city of Singapore last week, one particular structure caught my eye: shophouses.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore has adopted a stylistic classification of shop architecture for certain areas that preserves the country’s multi-ethnic and colonial built heritage.

Conservation and rebranding of the city

The city’s conservation and rebranding efforts in Singapore – from the early economic and housing development efforts of the 1960s to the 1980s – are evident as the city shines like a jewel. As we know, today it has become a leading financial and commercial center.

The facade of the shophouses is retained, while the interior spaces feature an adaptive reuse of the buildings. The preservation of the facade of the building of the shophouses contributes to create a visual identity, renamed accordingly Little India or Chinatown to show tourists the identity of these historical places.

A great effort is now seen in the preservation of Singapore's cultural heritage as more holistic redevelopment and preservation of the city is underway.

A great effort is now seen in the preservation of Singapore’s cultural heritage as more holistic redevelopment and preservation of the city is underway.

Market forces have driven out some of the cultural heritage due to gentrification as residential commercial buildings have proliferated. But a great effort is now seen in the preservation of Singapore’s cultural heritage as more holistic redevelopment and preservation of the city is underway.

As in other countries, a top-down approach towards a more participatory strategy is gradually being adopted for urban conservation. Three groups made up of professionals, representatives of interest organizations and ordinary citizens are studying proposals relating to parks and bodies of water, urban villages and the charm of yesteryear. Ideas and input from the public are gathered through public forums, exhibitions and dialogues for a concept plan to be finalized.

Multidimensional framework

The redevelopment and conservation framework is multidimensional and includes buildings, circulation patterns, streetscapes, open spaces and views. Holistic conservation has multidisciplinary participation and involves all conservation actors, users, owners, heritage defenders and decision makers.

Online-based heritage advocates, social media in particular, with youth participation, are now organic in Singapore.

Heritage assets such as monuments and buildings that we preserve for their historical, architectural, cultural and natural timelessness affect our sense of belonging and our attachment to our city.

Heritage assets such as monuments and buildings that we preserve for their historical, architectural, cultural and natural timelessness affect our sense of belonging and our attachment to our city.

The author is the principal architect of AP de Jesus & Associates – Green Architecture and vice president of the Philippine Green Building Initiative.

For comments or inquiries, email [email protected]

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