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Submitted by Mart Eftim on

I think that what makes the Singapore public housing experiment is the way that government bureaucrats experience the city they are planning for. In larger countries with many cities or a large rural population it is very hard for central planners to actually understand what the urban experience is like. Where as in Singapore it is almost impossible for the government to ignore what is going on in the urban space, and indeed the entirety of the urban space in the country. A market based approach is about decentralizing implementation in the hope (not necessarily the reality) that market participants are more effective at coordinating development in an urban space (i.e. more responsive to peoples needs and what makes a nice urban space, on a local level). But there always seems to be some kind of market failure here because individual market participants aren't able to internalize all the externalizes in urban development, and there are many potential problems that can de-rail a market. So with a centrally planned approach you have a system where the planner is responsible for the entire functioning of the market. The two big obstacles faced in this approach are 1) the central planner lacking sufficient information to run an effective policy 2) Not actually caring because of corruption. Singapore avoids these issues by having the central planners live in the city they are planning for and having an extremely professional public service