The article proposes to revalidate the instrumentality of type as a heuristic device and in so doing, uncover the cultural, social and political reasoning behind the architecture of the developmental city in Far East Asia. The question of type in the context of the discussion of the city was last raised in Aldo Rossi’s L’Architetura della Cita, 1966. This understanding of type and typology was fi rmly based on the architectural theories of the Enlightenment and the historical European city. I would argue that this is inadequate to describe, conceptualise and theorise the contemporary East Asian City, exemplifi ed by Singapore as a developmental city state, from the 1960s to 2000s. I will show that this seemingly new phenomenon has a long history, in fact, and is tied to the way in which the city, as an extension of the conception of family and state, is conceived in the culture and philosophy of ancient China. This will crucially serve to further the discussion of the dominant type and the idea of the city, and to show that the former can be understood as a common framework, a shared architectural knowledge and social contract.

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