Singapore’s Five Foot Ways

August 24, 2014

Singaporean architecture is a fascinating mix of old and new. Because of its tropical locale, some of the modern areas look like LA with tall glass skyscrapers and palm trees. The places I found most interesting were the older colonial neighborhoods. One feature of these old colonial buildings is a covered sidewalk intended to protect pedestrians, the five foot way.

As the name implies the walkway is five feet across. There are sections like Haji Lane that have spent time and money restoring the old colonial buildings and now house boutique shops. The five foot way provides an extension for the shops and a means to entice patrons.

For restaurants the five foot way often serves as an extension of the dining room with additional tables and seating.

And in some cases also offers a smoker’s lounge.

In the intense heat and sun these narrow walkways provide a welcome, if minor, relief from the elements. To me, the five foot way is a reminder of Singapore’s colonial past.

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