Singapore Table of Contents
The primary responsibility for acquiring, developing, and managing industrial sites, however, belonged to the Jurong Town Corporation, established in 1968. The corporation provided manufacturers with their choice of industrial land sites on which to build their own factories or ready-built factories for the immediate start-up of manufacturing operations. In the 1950s, when the idea of establishing an industrial estate was first conceived, Jurong was an area of dense tropical forests and mangrove swamps on the southwestern quadrant of the island, and it was not until 1960 that the government decided to undertake the project. During the first few years, entrepreneurial response was disappointing, but after independence the pace of development accelerated. By 1989 Jurong had quadrupled its original size, and the corporation also managed twenty-three other industrial estates, including the Singapore Science Park, a research and development park adjacent to the National University of Singapore. Although the emphasis in the 1970s had been on the development of labor-intensive industries, in the 1980s priority was given to upgrading facilities to make them more attractive for the establishment of high value-added and high technology industries.
The industrial estates were designed to be self-contained urban centers and included such facilities as golf courses, banks, shopping centers, restaurants, child-care centers, and parks. As of 1988, they contained some 3,600 factories employing a total of 216,000 workers. The Jurong Town Corporation also provided infrastructure and support facilities, including the Jurong Industrial Port, which was the country's main bulk cargo gateway, and the Jurong Marine Base, which serviced offshore petroleum operations.
The Jurong Town Corporation shared responsibility for coastal planning and development control with the Housing and Development Board, the Urban Renewal Authority, and the Port of Singapore Authority. The coastal zone, dominated by its entrepôt facilities, was the traditional foundation on which Singapore's economy was built. Between 1965 and 1987, the coastal zone was enlarged by about fifty square kilometers through reclamation of tidal flats, shallow lagoons, and wetlands. The two largest landfill operations were the East and the West Coast Reclamation schemes adjoining the Central Business District. The former was the Housing and Development Board's largest project, in which a "sea city" almost the size of the present-day downtown area had been developed by both the private and public sector. Experts estimated that in the 1980s Singapore, including the offshore islands, had the potential of increasing its existing land resources by about 10 percent.
Data as of December 1989