Downtown Core, CBD, Core Central Region (CCR), Central Area… What is the difference?

Have you ever noticed that Singapore is almost shaped like a fan? Magic, isn’t it?


The modern history of Singapore began with the Englishman Stamford Raffles. When he entered the island, there were only two small towns.

Click here to read the whole history of Singapore

Raffles established a free port around 1820. Commercial Square (now Raffles Place), south of the Singapore River, became the centre of this trading zone. Raffles Place thus became the financial district of Singapore and today it’s home to some of the city’s tallest buildings. The area is actually called Downtown Core, but this name is hardly used. The term Central Business District (CBD) has established itself in the language.

Over time, more and more people came to Singapore. Around the old harbour it became narrow and so the city expanded more and more. In addition to Raffles Place, there were soon six other areas (in Districts 9, 10, 11), which are often simply called Central Area or/and CBD (Central Business District), even though they are actually the extended Core Central Region (CCR) of the city. Today it’s also home to the headquarters, large corporations, government institutions and the Singapore Stock Exchange.

  1. Phillip ca. 1822 (from British Governor of Penang William Phillips – he had many conversations with Stamford Raffles about the foundation of Singapore in Suffolk House/George Town, Penang in Malaysia)
  2. Tanjong Pagar 1850s (means “cape of stakes” in Malay and cames from the Kelong fishing plattforms)
  3. Clifford Pier 1933 (from Governor Sir Hugh Charles Clifford – this was the landing point of immingrants – formerly Johnston’s Pier mid-1850s)
  4. Anson since 1879 (from Major-General Sir Archibald Anson)
  5. Cecil since about 1890 (from Governor Sir Cecil Clementi Smith)
  6. Maxwell ca. 1893 (from Governor Sir William Edward Maxwell)
Map from 1900
Extended CCR

The Core Central Region today also includes Marina Central, Bayfront, City Hall and Bugis as well as Sentosa.

The entire area, i.e. the Core Central Region with the CBD/Central Area and Sentosa, still comprises a total of 11 areas:
Bukit Timah, Marina East, Marina South, Museum, Newton, Orchard, Outram, River Valley, Singapore River, Straits View, Tanglin.

Singapore River: Get here the PDF with 81 pages of history, interesting facts, maps, species etc. from yesterday and today with trail map. (from Singapore Heritage Center)


Around the Core Central Region (CCR) you will find the whole Rest of Central Region (RCR):
Marine Parade, Toa Payoh, Bukit Merah, Kallang, Queenstown, Novena, Bishan, Geylang.

Together, CCR and RCR form the Central Region (CR). And as if it wasn’t confusing enough, there is of course the OCR (Outside Central Region) with another 33 areas 😉.

The picture at the beginning is my attempt to give order to the confusion. Please don’t be so strict with the proportions 😉


Maybe you’ll find more answers here 😊: Downtown/CBD today and tomorrow

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