From Marina Bay Sands to Merlion Park, Singapore’s architecture and iconography have become synonymous with life in a modern city. The city-state has emerged from its humble beginnings as a small fishing village to become a major economic player competing on the global stage—and a destination of choice for many of the world’s entrepreneurs and high-end homebuyers.
How did Singapore go from outpost to powerhouse? And how is it rising to the challenge of a modern digital age? Long before becoming the international city of the moment, Singapore laid the groundwork by investing in the technology and infrastructure now bringing its residents and visitors superlative quality of life.
With a GDP per capita of U.S. $60,000, Singapore is one of the strongest economies in the world. And when it comes to cities maximizing their efficiency through innovation, Singapore tops the list. A business-friendly government crafting forward-thinking policies has brought Singapore to its current status: the city-state is not afraid of being an early adopter of technology and innovation. In fact, Singapore is ranked number one in the AI readiness index. But what does an openness to technology offer to those looking to work and live in Singapore?
Silicon Valley takes most of the attention in the world of tech startups. But Singapore’s early and extensive adoption of high-speed internet is providing competition, and smart business people are now turning towards Singapore as the number one place for startups. The city-state is ranked as number one in 4G mobile broadband speed and in the top 20 for 4G availability out of the 88 countries surveyed by mobile analytics firm Opensignal. With an extensive and fast digital network in place, ready for businesses to tap into, Singapore is catching the eye of some of the top companies in the world.
Beyond digital infrastructure, Singapore is also investing in physical infrastructure to make life easier for businesses. Punggol Digital District is Singapore’s first enterprise district, a well-connected and green neighborhood that provides working space for tech companies and educational institutions. The district is planned to run on the technologies that make life easier, including a smart energy grid, pneumatic waste collection, and a centralized cooling system. Projects like this one are set to drive urban development into the future.
And Singapore hasn’t only made life comfortable for its entrepreneurs. It’s made accessibility a priority, and has optimized travel for all citizens.
Recently ranked number one out of 24 major cities, Singapore’s transit system stands ready to transport travelers between the city-state’s many attractions. The use of drones and predictive artificial intelligence to identify maintenance needs and avoid delays is one example of how Singapore is testing out technology to keep its transit system up and running, and the city has invested in the early stages of autonomous vehicles. With service stations and energy providers adding charging ports across the city, Singapore is on its way to becoming more electric vehicle friendly—good news for eco-minded motorists.
The city is also imminently walkable, meaning that much of the sights can be taken in on foot. To combat the warmer days and fend off tropical storms, Singapore’s many high-rise buildings are increasingly connected with air conditioned underground passageways that link up shopping and tourist destinations out of the way of inclement weather. And stepping out of the heat is easy in any of the city’s modern builds: condominiums like the distinguished Leed Residence or the waterfront Reflections at Keppel Bay offer natural trails, fitness centers, and lap pools that easily match the activity to the season.
Optimized for Sustainability
While cities throughout the world are striving to adopt technologies to earn smart city status, Singapore has gone beyond this approach to comprehensively adopt technologies that work for citizens and visitors alike, becoming a truly smart nation in the process. Autonomous shuttle buses are already transporting passengers and the government-backed e-payment system allows customers to use their phones to pay for everything from a delicious stall meal to a luxury purchase. With these smart systems already in place, Singapore has indicated its intention to continue prioritizing sustainability and convenience, which is good news for buyers looking to make the city a permanent home.
Thanks to a mix of policy and innovation, Singapore has created an ideal environment for both work and recreation. For the technologies of the moment and the city of the future, look no further than Southeast Asia’s island city-state.