Remember the film ‘Back To The Future’? When he drove the DeLorean back to 1955, Marty McFly should have taken a side trip to Singapore and bought some land. Sixty years ago the city-state was an insignificant, resource-poor swamp with incomes averaging US$400 per annum. Now in 2015, it is around US$60,900 – making it the world’s sixth-richest nation per capita.
Such a dramatic change will not go unnoticed. Other countries now want to replicate that miracle and transform their own cities. In January, Singapore’s government agreed to lend its expertise to help one of India’s 29 states build a new capital city. That state, Andhra Pradesh, has developed plans for a sprawling metropolis totaling 7,235 square kilometers, 10 times the size of Singapore. The new city is expected to cost US$16.5bn. Although the last of three master plans completed by Singapore will not be submitted until the end of June, the Andhra Pradesh government held the ground-breaking ceremony for the new capital at 8.49am on 6 June – at the insistence of astrologers who were fretting about the lack of auspicious days this year.