The Healthy Streets Approach
4 April 2019
10.30 am – 12.00 pm. Registration from 10.00am, seated by 10.30am
LTA Auditorium, LTA Hampshire Office Block 5, 1 Hampshire Road, Singapore 219428
2 BOA-SIA CPD pts, 2 SIP CPD pts, 2 SILA CPD pts
Lecture Poster (PDF: 270 KB)
Lecture Slides by Ms Lucy Saunders (PDF: 7.10MB)
In this Lecture, public health specialist Lucy Saunders will introduce the Healthy Streets Approach to Urban Planning. This is a framework for putting human health and quality of life at the centre of decision making around transport and public realm planning and management. It has been adopted by London as the framework for the 25 year Mayor’s Transport Strategy and is being embedded in the systems and processes of the strategic transport authority, Transport for London.
“(Making active mobility a social norm) comes down to those high-level policies—is it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport, or is it easier to drive? In London, there’s been 20 years of removing city centre car parking, so that almost nobody would drive to work in the centre of London, because no one would even know where to find a parking space.
Nobody else they know would drive to work, so it doesn’t feel like a social norm to do that. That’s a policy that’s gone on for decades, to end up with a situation where people walk every day, (even) in awful weather, because everyone else is doing it.”
- Lucy Saunders
Cities will benefit significantly from turning roads for cars into streets for pedestrians. Not only will this reduce the potential of injury or death while commuting, it will raise the air quality, encourage physical activity amongst citizens and ultimately improve public health.
This “Healthy Streets Approach” to urban planning was outlined by public health specialist Lucy Saunders at her CLC Lecture in April. The consultant for the Greater London Authority & Transport for London shared how the city had adopted this framework she created in 2011 and urged others to rethink the design and management of streets to make a significant impact on people’s lives.
“The Healthy Streets Approach is about making streets work from a people perspective. A street that works for people is a street that is good for health,” she said.
There are 10 indicators for cities and communities to work towards healthier, more humane streets, added Saunders. They include ensuring ease of use, offering shade and shelter as well as keeping them safe for walking and cycling. In addition, streets should offer engaging elements such as shops and public art to make people feel welcomed and relaxed.
Some solutions suggested by Saunders include widening pavements and lowering the speed limits of roads to encourage more cautious driving. During the panel discussion that followed, Professor Paul Barter of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy noted that several of these initiatives have been carried out in Singapore. For instance, the city recently expanded bicycle paths and inter-town networks as well as lowered speed limits. Dr. Barter urged the Singapore government to capitalise on these efforts to make streets less for cars but more for people.
“A street is a place where we’re conscious that it is a multi-purpose place. We should consciously plan streets as streets,” he said. In Dr. Barter’s opinion, two arterial streets where this balance has gone wrong are Serangoon Road and Balestier Road where the roadways are designed with traffic as the number one priority.
“It’s tough to design an arterial street that can be a great place, provide access to buildings along the street and still provide for some traffic flow, but increasingly, cities are finding a way to deal with that problem,” he said.
One way is to slow down traffic and provide more space for bicycles, personal mobility devices (PMDs) and pedestrians. For instance, at least half of the network for bicycles and PMDs in the Netherlands are not dedicated paths, but minor streets with speed limits. According to Dr. Barter, this allows bicycles and PMDs, which have proven popular in Singapore, to safely use roads and prevent the endangerment of pedestrians. In addition, the Dutch approach of tucking parking in between trees also make streets healthier and more inclusive.
“You get several advantages there — the roadway looks narrow, people drive slowly, it’s a traffic-calmed environment and the parking is well designed. You also have space for trees, so that places like Little India or Chinatown, where we currently have almost no street trees, could be full of trees for shade, incredibly precious in this climate.”
The significance of greenery in encouraging active mobility was a point raised by fellow panelists from the public sector, including the Land Transport Authority’s Deputy Chief Executive Jeremy Yap and the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Chief Planner Hwang Yu Ning.
One of URA’s strategy has been to integrate green spaces with mixed-use precincts to encourage citizens to be more active. Besides offering parks and nature reserves, the agency is also looking at connectors such as streets and corridors. For instance, the planned Greater Rustic Coast network will provide a 50-km continuous belt of green spaces and recreational venues along Singapore’s northern coast.
“The connection that we feel and the contact that we get with nature is very much part of healthy living and encouraging people to get outdoors,” said Hwang. “By making spaces green, attractive and shaded, it helps bring people out and about and using the spaces well.”
This report first appeared in the
May 2019 Better Cities
About the Speakers
Public Health Specialist - Transport & Public Realm
Greater London Authority & Transport for London
Lucy Saunders is a Consultant in Public Health specialising in transport, public realm and planning. She developed the Healthy Streets Approach™ and the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators™ in 2011. In 2015 she was awarded Transport Planner of the Year by the Transport Planning Society and her work won awards from the international UITP and UK Chartered Institute for Highways and Transportation. Lucy spent the past 7 years embedding the Healthy Streets Approach in policy and practice in London. She worked across many agencies including Transport for London, boroughs and advocacy organisations.
Hwang Yu Ning
Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Planner
Urban Redevelopment Authority
Ms Hwang Yu-Ning is the current Acting Deputy CEO and Chief Planner for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Having served in URA, Ministry of National Development and Strategy Group in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ms Hwang’s experiences include long term strategic planning, local urban design, master planning, policy development and coordination across government. She currently guides URA’s land use planning to enhance liveability, economic development and future physical capacity.
Dr Paul Barter
Adjunct Associate Professor
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
Paul Barter is a transport policy researcher, advisor, writer and trainer with expertise in various urban transport topics including: international comparisons of urban mobility patterns and policies; public transport regulation; innovation in travel demand management; and parking policy. His work is international with a special focus on Southeast Asia and East Asia, including several publications on Singapore. He is especially known for his work on urban parking policy. Paul has provided parking policy insight to metropolitan governments in China, Colombia, India and Indonesia and as a consultant to international organizations including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and Germany's GIZ. Paul was a full-time National University of Singapore (NUS) faculty member from 2000 until 2012 and has long taught at graduate level in the LKY School of Public Policy where he is now an Adjunct Associate Professor. Paul writes and podcasts at his two websites, Reinventing Transport and Reinventing Parking.
Deputy Chief Executive
Public Transport, Policy & Planning
Land Transport Authority
Mr. Jeremy Yap is the Deputy Chief Executive, Public Transport, Policy and Planning at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore with effect from 1 April 2015. In his current portfolio, Jeremy oversees the Public Transport, Policy & Planning, as well as the Vehicle Services Groups in LTA. Jeremy is called to the Singapore Bar and is an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court and a lawyer by training. He practised law in Singapore for 6 years before joining the Land Transport Authority in March 1997.