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In the gateway's shadow: Interactions between Singapore's Hinterlands

Francis E. Hutchinson

Growth and Change, 2021, vol. 52, issue 1, 71-87

Abstract: During the 1990s, Singapore, the Malaysian state of Johor and the Riau Islands in Indonesia marketed themselves as a single investment destination. Due to its capital, technology, and superior logistics, Singapore was the “gateway”; Johor and the Riau Islands were the hinterland—supplying land, labour, and resources. Since then, production networks between the three territories have deepened. Interactions with Singapore have also catalysed connections between Johor and the Riau Islands. To date, research has focussed on the city‐state as the gateway and/or linkages between it and one of the two hinterlands. This emphasis is inherent in the “Gateway City” framework, which focusses on the primary city at the expense of its hinterlands and also overlooks mediating influences such as borders and border regimes. This article proposes complementing the Gateway City with the Cross‐Border Region framework to gain stronger purchase on the unit of analysis and focusing on inter‐hinterland dynamics to gain a more complete picture of how gateway cities affect their surrounding areas. Through applying this expanded theoretical framework to study the interactions of Johor and the Riau Islands, this article seeks to shed light on an under‐theorised and under‐studied aspect of gateway cities.

Date: 2021
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