This case study considers the early development and recent changes that have occurred in the vicinity of Joo Chiat Road, Singapore, which can be described as a ‘linear activity corridor’ linking the districts of Geylang, Katong and Marine Parade, immediately east of Singapore’s urban core. Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has declared Joo Chiat to be a ‘Conservation Area’, reflecting local-born Peranakan and Eurasian cultures, with similar status to other more central historic sites such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India and Emerald Hill. But the story of Joo Chiat has evolved along a somewhat different trajectory from the more prominent, tourism-related, heritage areas, with a multiplicity of interactions operating at the margins of the planning process. This has led to the spatial infusion of potentially discordant, globally related, ‘entertainment and recreational’ activities into an area of established urban identity and multiple attachments. When a policy of police containment was found to be inadequate in protecting local residents from undesirable impacts, changes were eventually brought about through a combination of neighbourhood activism and local political initiative. Through detailed land use inspections, press reports and strategic interviews, backed up by secondary sources, the study highlights the impingement of marginalised, potentially disruptive ‘global’ elements into a local heritage conservation area, and the importance of strong neighbourhood identity and community involvement as active components in the process of conflict resolution.