The “Densification” of Modern Public Housing: Hong Kong and Singapore





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


In the Asian mini-city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore, massive public housing programmes, far more extreme in density and height than their European and North American predecessors, have played an unexpectedly prominent role in development policy since the 1950s. This article explores some of the ways in which the original conventions of public housing were transformed and “densified” in these territories, and argues that the key influences in this process were not so much avant-garde modernist architectural discourses as the organisational mechanisms and political pressures within late British colonialism and decolonisation.

How to Cite

Glendinning, M. (2014). The “Densification” of Modern Public Housing: Hong Kong and Singapore. Docomomo Journal, (50), 44–51.







Author Biography

Miles Glendinning, University of Edinburgh

(b. 1956, London, UK). MSc in Architectural History, UEA Norwich, UK. Professor of architectural conservation at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies. Chair of docomomo ISC/ Urbanism+Landscape. Miles Glendinning has written many books on the modern built environment, ranging from Tower Block (London, Yale, 1994, with Stefan Muthesius) to The Conservation Movement (London; New York, Routledge, 2013).


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This article also makes extensive use of the government file records of the Hong Kong Public Records Office and the National Archives of Singapore, for which see the following general links: