The area around the mouth of the Singapore River was where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles decided to establish the main town area when he arrived in 1819. Based on his early town plan, the north bank was reserved for government buildings while the south bank was set aside for commercial purposes. Such a planning arrangement had a lasting legacy on the development of the downtown area. Today, the north bank forms the old civic quarters, where many colonial administrative structures have been gazetted as national monuments. The south bank has developed into a busy commercial district with many towering skyscrapers.