Singapore River Festival, Singapore

3.8
#14 of 20 in Events in Singapore
The Singapore River precinct, with three distinctive quays - Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay - is the historic heart of the city and the foundation upon which Singapore has been built. Its diverse offerings and welcoming ambience are a draw for both locals and visitors. Its preservation and continued vitality are important for reasons both economic and cultural.

Singapore River has always played a pivotal role in Singapore's Development. Legend has it that Sang Nila Utama, an ancient Sumatran prince, once landed along the river and saw an animal that he thought to be a lion, whereupon he named the island Singa Pure, or "Lion City." In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles arrived on Singapore River and established a British trading outpost. For more than a century afterward, the river was Singapore's main commercial lifeline.

In the early days, the Singapore River provided an ideal natural artery around which the city could flourish as trade ebbed and flowed across the archipelago. The transformation from tidal creek to port and commercial centre was necessary to the rapid growth of the island as an entrepôt in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the river also suffered problems with congestion and pollution over the years. From the initial days of flourishing trade and activity, the Singapore River had become heavily polluted.

During its early stages as an independent nation state, the Singapore Government embarked on a massive program of renewal and reform. The end of the colonial era had pressing issues that needed attention: urban overcrowding and lack of basic amenities such as piped water and sewerage - especially in the city's heart near the river. The 1960s ushered in a period of unprecedented urban renewal, as run down and dilapidated sections of the city were cleared to give way to modern high rises. By the 1970s, the river became unable to deal with modern container shipping and trading activity gradually moved to Keppel Harbour, paving the way for the redevelopment of the river. At the same time, a new Master Plan for the island's development was revised accordingly to address the emerging contemporary social situation in Singapore and action was taken to mitigate the environmental damage to the Singapore River.

In 1977, the government - spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment - began the mammoth task of cleaning up Singapore River. By the end of 1983, the river's environment had improved dramatically, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) would undertake the responsiblity of forumulating comprehensive redevelopment strategies for derelict areas around the river. Works undertaken to redevelop Singapore River included dredging the river, rebuilding the river walls along the entire stretch of Singapore River and the construction of a 6km long promenade along both banks of the waterfront.

Over the years, the river has been transformed from a working waterway to an attractive waterfront environment for housing, recreation and entertainment. Under URA's supervision, the river continues to be developed with a mix of residential and commercial uses, while standing poised for another chapter in its long and colourful history.

Today, it is managed by Singapore River One (SRO), a private sector-led partnership charged with the day-to-day management, maintenance, enhancement and marketing of the precinct. SRO is a legally-established not-for-profit company with a singular focus on leveraging public and private investments, increasing footfall, and enhancing property values within the Singapore River precinct.
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Singapore River Festival Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
9 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A gentle relaxed atmosphere with informative narration. Good crew to assist photo shots along the journey  more »
  • Stunning to see what an ambitious, vision focused country can do in less than 60 years. The use of light, encouragement of business, culture of respect is admirable.  more »

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