Abstract With globalization, cities are facing increasing competitions as centers for activities and nodes for multi-national corporations. As a result, cities have to ensure that their institutional structures cater to the rising demand from such corporations. There is an increasing need for institutional thickness and free market systems. In the past four decades, Singapore, an investment driven city, has provided businesses with a secure and efficient business environment. Through semi-structured interviews with senior policy makers and private experts, this research identifies the institutional framework in Singapore and how this set up interacts with and influences the business environment and city development. However, the need to elevate itself into a knowledge based economy requires a more nimble and fluid relationship between the institutions and the businesses.