The Science of Cities Symposium convenes international researchers, city, and industry leaders to share their scientific insights and methodologies on tackling urban challenges. The Symposium will connect scientific theories to urban practice, and through high quality presentations on the use of science and technologies for cities, spurs fruitful discussions and engaging debates among academic researchers, urban practitioners, and industry professionals.

The Science of Cities Symposium is conducted annually, in conjunction with the World Cities Summit (WCS) on even-years – inaugural edition was at WCS 2022 – and with the Urban Solutions & Sustainability (USS) R&D Congress on odd-years. 

Thematic Panels

To be held on 5 October 2023 as part of the USS R&D Congress, the Science of Cities Symposium will feature two thematic panels:

Panel 1: Complexity and Planning with Uncertainty: Science-Based Approach to Future Scenarios

In the 20th Century, cities were regarded as “machines for living” and such ideas extended to the city itself, with planning defined by comprehensive and sometimes rigid Masterplans. However, cities now have the growing ability to harness science to study the city as a system-of-systems – i.e. characterised by heterogeneity, interdependencies, and circular-causality, all of which culminate to emergent and unpredictable disruptions at various temporal and spatial scales. On the one hand, the unpredictable dynamics of cities and their development trajectory make it impossible to plan cities in detail for the long term. On the other hand, planning remains important to provide the necessary conditions for the self-organisation of cities and its constituents to take place, while the ubiquity of big data, digital twins and computational modelling techniques present the potential to simulate future growth scenarios. Hence, when working with uncertainties, there are opportunities for researchers to adopt a systems-thinking and science-based approach to identify the key underlying drivers of the urban system and its emergent behaviours, grasp the co-evolution of different systems and create scenarios for possible futures.

This theme welcomes abstracts at the intersection of complexity science and urban foresight for better future outcomes for the liveability, sustainability and urban resilience of cities.

Panel 2: Science of Decarbonising Cities

The call for decarbonisation has intensified in the wake of the recent triple-crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, global energy crisis, and the growing frequency and intensity of climate change events. Not only do these events expose the world to the dire consequences of fossil fuel over-reliance, poor disaster preparedness, insufficient climate mitigation and adaptation plans to enable a net-zero transition, but also the gap in the capacity of cities’ governments and corporates in adopting low-carbon practices, diverting funds in decarbonisation research and innovation, and relooking their mitigation-adaptation strategies. To truly advance critical climate action milestones, solutions to phasing out of fossil fuels, developing clear funding frameworks and standards, and transitions are now needed to decarbonise cities within and beyond their consumption value chains are required. The ability to harness science is as equally critical as political will and mindset shifts to deliver robust and effective guidelines are necessary for green and sustainable transition.

This theme will thus put a spotlight on the role of science-based approaches in devising decarbonisation pathways across various sectors in the urban built environment. We welcome presentations that can tie scientific methods to the development of decarbonisation frameworks and policies, especially practices and pathways in the built environment sectors in cities, as well as enhancing carbon mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Call for Abstracts

CLC welcomes researchers to submit abstracts that suit the focus of either/both of the above-mentioned panel sessions. Researchers are required to submit their abstracts using the template provided below. A checklist is also attached, for researchers’ reference to ensure that the required details are in order.

Template for Abstracts  Abstract Submission Checklist
DOC: 33 KB; PDF: 100 KB

Abstracts shall be submitted via this form. The deadline for submission is 9 June 2023 (GMT +0).

Important Dates to Note



Submission Deadline for Proposals 

9 June 2023

Notification of Acceptance/Rejection

7 July 2023

Deadline for Speakers’ Acceptance

21 July 2023

Submission Deadline for Presentation Materials 

September, to be updated

Science of Cities Symposium

5 October 2023

Programme & Presentation Format

The tentative programe is as follows. It will be updated, so please check this webpage regularly.

Science of Cities Symposium @ USS R&D Congress
5 October 2023, Thursday, Singapore




Theme 1: Complexity and Planning with Uncertainty:
Science-Based Approach to Future Scenarios 

9am - 11am

10 mins

Opening Remarks for SoC Symposium

1h 50 mins

  • Keynote address [2 x 15 mins]
  • Presentation by academics, practitioners [5 x 10 mins]
  • Panel discussion (moderated) [30 mins]

11am -11.30am

30 mins

Networking Break cum Poster Presentation

Theme 2: Science of Decarbonising Cities 

11.30am – 1.20pm

1h 50 mins

  • Keynote address [2 x 15 mins]
  • Presentation by academics, practitioners [5 x 10 mins]
  • Panel discussion (moderated) [30 mins]

1.20pm - 2.30pm

1h 10 mins

Network Break cum Lunch

Theme 3: Shrinking the Urban Environmental Footprint:
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for High-density Urbanisation

2.30pm – 4.30pm


  • Presentations and Panel Discussion (curated by FCL Global)

4.30pm – 5.30pm


Networking Reception

The submitted abstracts will be reviewed. Selected abstracts will be featured as oral presentation at the panel sessions or poster presentation at the on-site exhibition area. 

  • For the oral presentation, each panel session will feature four selected projects. Researchers of the selected abstracts shall prepare a 10-minutes presentation of the project and participate in a moderated panel discussion for the Science of Cities Symposium. The researcher must attend the Symposium in-person. 
  • For the poster format, researchers of the selected abstracts shall prepare an A0 digital poster for display at the on-site and/or virtual poster exhibition. The poster presenters are encouraged to attend the Symposium in-person. You may wish to view past posters at this link.

Researchers will also have the opportunity to publish the selected project as a paper in the International Journal on Smart and Sustainable Cities, co-published by World Scientific Publishing Company and CLC.  


The attendance to the Science of Cities Symposium, as part of the USS R&D Congress, is by invitation only. Registration is therefore required, so do visit this webpage at a later date for more details on the registration process. 

Past Editions

Thematic Panels

Panel 1: Complexity Science for Adaptive and Sustainable Cities

The world we inhabit is increasingly known as a VUCA world – a world confronted by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity – with interconnected challenges such as climate change, changing demographics, ageing population, changing local and global economic structures, among others. The unpredictability of a VUCA world makes planning for an adaptive, liveable and sustainable future challenging, due to the many possible yet uncertain factors and circumstances that could change its evolution. This growing complexity of improving our daily lives is due to the increasingly interconnected and emergent interactions, relations and flows, at the global, regional, national, town, neighbourhood and individual scales, between the city’s many different urban systems and people. An integrated systems approach that brings together the technical expertise of complexity science and the contextual expertise of cities will thus be needed to scientifically examine the interdependencies of urban systems and scales

This theme focused on the applications of complexity science thinking and/or methods in the urban domain, relating but not limited to, the understanding of integrated urban systems, analytics and data platforms for urban management, complexity and artificial intelligence in urban planning and design, etc.

Panel 2: Science of Regenerative Cities

Cities are continuously evolving and growing in response to the population demands. Sustainability has been a goal for cities to ensure its ability to meet present-day needs without compromising future needs. However, tackling present-day demands and challenges require a paradigm shift in urban planning, design and lifestyles. It is no longer sufficient for cities to minimise environmental losses and repair damaged systems; instead, cities need to shift towards maximising ecological gains such as restoring ecosystems and moving towards building self-sustaining and regenerative cities that improve both human and planetary health. To facilitate regenerative urbanism, the many years of research on harnessing science, technologies and innovations for sustainable cities can be taken a step further, to develop a holistic understanding of planetary and human health, supported by an ecosystem of multi-stakeholders across urban domains, and enabled through scientific thinking and digital tools.

This theme featured projects that were concerned with the physical, economic and social regeneration of urban spaces and communities, where systematic and scientific analysis was used to understand how to enhance the human-nature symbiosis and/or establish a concerted multi-stakeholder governance model.

Summary Report

The key take-aways from the Science of Cities Symposium are attached.

Panel 1 Summary  Panel 2 Summary

Contact Us

Should you have any queries, please reach out to Ms Tan Yi Xuan (tan_yi_xuan@mnd.gov.sg) and Ms Claudia Tan (claudia_tan_from.tp@mnd.gov.sg).