A Suprise Visit From Our Old Planner


Last month, we had a surprise visitor. Mr Henry Wardlaw of Sydney, through his daughter, telephoned URA for a short visit to our City Gallery. This is no ordinary visitor.

Mr Wardlaw, now 91, headed a United Nations (UN) consultancy team to Singapore which in the late 60s was responsible for drawing up the first Singapore Concept Plan. Changi Airport Terminal One, the PIE and our first MRT lines were first conceptualised in this Concept Plan.  This Concept Plan set the foundation of Singapore’s physical development for the next 20 years.

Mr Wardlaw was a key player in the UN team.

We were thrilled and took the opportunity to have Mr Wardlaw interact with our young URA planners. Writing in the URA’s guestbook, he said:


We have come a long way since. He recalled the disorganised streets he saw when he first arrived here. “I wanted to go home” he recalled. This time round, he was “overwhelmed and astonished” at how much change Singapore had undergone.

Over the years, Concept Plan 1971 has been reviewed and updated several times to meet changing needs and global circumstances. But the underlying philosophy of making Singapore an endearing home and a clean, green, liveable city remains unchanged.

Very soon, we will unveil details of the next Master Plan for Singapore, to continue the pursuit of this vision.

1971 concept plan

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