Some of the world’s most iconic skylines are photographed so often that it’s almost impossible to imagine them looking any different than they do now. But even New York City, Hong Kong and London have been altered over the decades. The changes were spurred by economic success (or lack thereof), major historic events, population growth or shifting cultures.
For some places, the “then” in the “then and now” equation was only a few decades ago. Many of London’s most visible modern landmarks, for example, are less than 20 years old. Other places have a mixture of buildings, creating an architectural timeline that offers a visual story of the city’s history.
Here are 10 cities where you can see dramatic differences and surprisingly similarities between “then” and “now.”
THEN: Traditional architecture ruled in Singapore in the 1960s. NOW: Singapore’s economic success has spurred an almost-continuous building boom since the 1980s.
Singapore is another Asia Pacific economic success story. A former British colony like Hong Kong, the city-state saw a building boom in the 1980s as it started to rise through the ranks of the region’s economic powers. The three tallest buildings in the country, all 920 feet, were built during these early years of wealth.
Because of its relatively small area, space is at a premium in Singapore. The one- and two-floor traditional homes and shophouses that once defined the country have been largely replaced with high-rise condos. Shophouses still stand in the Katong and Chinatown districts (as well as in a few other places around the city), but Singapore as a whole looks nothing like it did in the 1960s.