chapter  14
17 Pages

The cultural economy in the developmental state: A comparison of the Chinatown and Little India districts in Singapore


Introduction: new cultural-economic formations in the city A defining spatial feature of the successive phases of industrial innovation and restructuring in the urban economy takes the form of landscapes of specialized production. During the high point of the classic industrial city, shaped by the growth of manufacturing and ancillary activities and labour, the defining spatial expression of development was the industrial district, elucidated in Alfred Marshall’s seminal volume on principles of economics. Examples of industrial districts included the factory, light manufacturing and engineering areas of industrial cities, followed by the ‘new industrial district’ situated in leading regions of innovation (notably Emilia-Romagna and the ‘Third Italy’, among others) which comprised a focus of economic geography study in the 1970s and 1980s (Becattini 1990; Camagni 1991; Markusen 1996). Over the last four decades of the twentieth century, the emergence of a post-industrial economy was underscored by the establishment of the corporate office complex of the Central Business District (CBD), which in global cities comprised an apex cluster of head offices, intermediate finance (exchanges, merchant banking, and derivatives trading), and specialized producer services, such as legal, accounting and management consulting firms (Gottmann 1961; Daniels 1975 and 1985; Abu-Lughod 1999).