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In this Cities viewpoint forum, we argue that there is a need to rethink U.S./U.K.-centric approaches to the urban university in policy and practice. Gathering three critical commentaries by practitioners from within the Singaporean higher education system, the forum responds to the challenges of: (1) broadened expectation placed on higher education institutions; (2) the pressures and possibilities of global urbanization; and (3) the provocation to theorize the urban, and thus the urban university, from beyond the ‘Global North’. Following an introduction detailing the history and relevance of the Singaporean case, the three viewpoints seek to illustrate the various dimensions of university urbanism in the ‘Lion City’. Each address what the idea of being an urban university means, and how it is operationalized in Singapore. Key policy and conceptual insights illuminate a higher education regime negotiating the tensions between national developmentalist agendas and the opportunities opened by global urban connectivity. Significantly, and in contrast to current urban university paradigms, we find Singapore's university sector internalizing and operating with a particular technocratic urban ontology that, while partial, helps collapses the distinction between universities being ‘in’, ‘of’, or ‘for’ the city and opens new avenues to analyze and mobilize universities in urban(izing) society.


Accepted manuscript version of an article published by Elsevier in:

Addie, J.-P. D., Acuto, M., Ho, K. C., Cairns, S., & Tan, H. P. (2018). Perspectives on the 21st Century Urban University from Singapore – A viewpoint forum. Cities.