From Mudflats to Metropolis

“Over 100 years ago, this was a mudflat, swamp. Today, this is a modern city. Ten years from now, this will be a metropolis. Never fear.”

– Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew 

These words by Mr Lee from a speech he delivered on 12 September 1965 at the Sree Narayana Mission inspired the ethos and title of the “From Mudflats to Metropolis” exhibition, which chronicles Singapore’s urban transformation journey over the years. Visit the exhibition to find out more about how we house a nation, grow a garden city, ensure clean water for all, and make Singapore a great place to live, work and play.

About the Exhibition

The exhibition will be held at the following locations at the dates indicated below:
  • The URA Centre: 4 – 30 Sep 2023 (Open Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm)
  • Our Tampines Hub: 7 – 15 Oct 2023 (Open Mon to Sun, 10am to 10pm)
  • Northpoint City: 21 – 29 Oct 2023 (Open Mon to Sun, 10am to 10pm)
  • Heartbeat@Bedok: 4 – 12 Nov 2023 (Open Mon to Sun, 10am to 10pm)
  • VivoCity: 21 – 26 Nov 2023 (Open Tues to Sun, 10am to 10pm)
Entry to the exhibition is free.

Organised by:


Venue partners:

Frasers Property
People's Association
Our Tampines Hub
Northpoint City

Singapore’s Urban Transformation Journey

Download the exhibition brochure (in four languages) here.

Download the children’s activity sheet here and the answers here.


When Singapore achieved self-governance in 1959, the living environment was disorderly and unhygienic. The country was also rapidly industrialising. The government then was faced with many pressing issues. 
View PDF

Early years of self-governance and independence (1950s–1970s)

Recognising that Singapore’s land resources are scarce, our founding leaders understood the importance of adopting a long-term, integrated planning approach in our urban transformation. Be inspired by their bold and visionary plans to develop key infrastructure, housing and new towns. See how, through innovation and a can-do spirit, they pushed through strategies to diversify Singapore’s water supply, and made greening Singapore a priority in building a liveable and prosperous city.
View PDF

Continuing the work of our pioneers (1970s–2010s)

In this section, explore how pivotal plans were put into action. These were exciting decades! The city centre became more vibrant with the development of the iconic Marina Bay and various placemaking efforts. In the housing estates, renewal programmes and community integration efforts enhanced the overall living environment. Meanwhile, Singapore blossomed into a garden city with the nationwide greening movement and increasing conservation efforts. Sustainability and stewardship principles were also brought into the national consciousness with the strengthening of the Four National Taps and transformation of waterbodies into beautiful community spaces that Singaporeans can be proud of.
View PDF

Towards the future

Our founding leaders demonstrated courage, resilience and dedication in building a better Singapore for all. These values continue to guide us today as we work together to meet our changing needs and aspirations.
View PDF

Play a Part in Singapore’s Urban Transformation

We are not done building Singapore. Everyone can contribute to creating the Singapore we want to live in and make it a better, more liveable and more sustainable city for future generations. Visit the links below to find out more.