For heritage sites to have a future, they must be present in people's lives

Relevance and utility are key to the public's appreciation of important landmarks of the past

"Lau Pa Sat is a really convenient place for us to eat at, especially for those who work around the CBD area"; "MacRitchie Reservoir is a really nice place for me to go for my runs or walks"; "Chijmes is a very nice place to dine at in the evenings, and also good for wedding photoshoots!"

These were some of the remarks made by participants of the Institute of Policy Studies' Study On The Perception Of Singapore's Built Heritage And Landmarks, when asked why certain heritage sites or landmarks were important to them. Over a period of three months, we conducted seven focus group discussions with 51 Singaporeans, representing various age and ethnic groups. Our participants' occupations ranged from students to professionals, housewives and retirees.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2018, with the headline 'For heritage sites to have a future, they must be present in people's lives'. Print Edition | Subscribe