Politicised Cartography

Tabula rasa, a clean slate, a new start with infinite possibilities.

The 1822 Jackson Plan was an attempt to control the new British town of Singapore.

A European spatial configuration was superimposed onto the local landscape to perpetuate colonial governance and economic structures. Local physical and social structures were displaced. The British administrative buildings would be built near the site of the Temenggong’s palace. A fort was built on a sacred hill.

The plan, with its orthogonal grid extending from the shoreline, foreshadowed the total redevelopment in the 1960s. The British demonstrated to the locals how nature can be subdued and history can be overwritten; a flattened field emerges, hills vanish, and the swampland is raised. The common men would have had little say and must accept the sweeping changes and move on.