SINGAPORE - Many countries have a concept plan to guide physical development, but Singapore stands out in that it made bold plans early on and actually stuck to them.
That was largely because founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had the foresight to insist on it, the men who worked with him to transform the city said on Wednesday.
However, speakers at the second conference this week to mark Mr Lee's 90th birthday also identified areas in Singapore's urban development where meticulous planning came with costs, or were inadequate in addressing problems.
One said it made inequality "invisible" and, therefore, kept it under the radar. Another noted that it could not change uncivil forms of behaviour like littering.
The meeting - dubbed "Lee Kuan Yew and the Physical Transformation of Singapore" - was jointly organised by the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities and the Centre for Liveable Cities.
Speakers highlighted the importance of the 1971 Concept Plan - Singapore's first blueprint.
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) chairman Peter Ho said this plan was "seminal" and that its "essential features are recognisable even today as the basic structure of Singapore".
These include: a nature reserve in the island's centre, heavy industry in the west, a network of transport links, as well as sea and air ports placed where there is space for capacity upgrades.