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, with the 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 and one co-curated panel with Singapore-ETH Centre FCL Global:

Panel 1: Science-Based Approach to Planning 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.

Co-curated Panel with FCL Global: Regenerative Cities

According to the recently released U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change, the world is likely to pass a dangerous temperature threshold within the next 10 years, pushing the planet past the point of catastrophic warming — unless nations drastically transform their economies and immediately transition away from fossil fuels. Estimates suggest that cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors. This is an urgent call for urban planners, policymakers, and researchers to take action and affect transformational change to shrink the urban environmental footprint, as the settlement footprints expand, the interconnections between them become even more complex. We require a sustainable and regenerative approach, creating a restorative relationship between cities and the context they are situated within. This session presents six such regenerative strategies.

 View Full Report
PDF: 657 KB


P1: Urban Heat Island Scenario Exploration: A Generative Design Approach for Optimally Cool Urban Plans
P2: An Ontological Framework to Model Urban Metabolisms for Future Urban Scenarios
P3: Urban Modelling for Singapore’s Weather and Climate
P4: Physics Aware Digital Twins as Reliable, Responsible Tools to Predict and Manage Disruptions in Urban Complex Systems
P5: Non-asset-based Risk Models for Quantifying Future Climate Risk in Cities
P6: Designing for Diversity: Examining the Impact of Visual Features of Public Spaces in one-north, a High-Density District
P7: Cross-Domain Flood Risk Assessments for Smart Cities using Dynamic Knowledge Graphs
P8: Global Streetscapes—A Worldwide, Geospatially Enriched Dataset of 7 Million Street-level Images over 677 Cities for Urban Science Research
P9: Impact of the Built Environment and Its Social Outcomes in the Singapore Context
P10: The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Fundamental Urban Mobility Theories using Transit Data from Singapore
P11: Towards a Heuristic for Demand Driven Adaptive Pressure for Airports a Global Perspective
P12: Self-Organised Criticality in a Model of Supply Chain Network
P13: Emergent Spatial Distribution of Social Hotspots: Analysis of Three Planning Areas in Singapore
P14: Pedestrian Movement Distribution Patterns in Multilevel Urban Environments
P15: The Roads One Must Walk Down: The Relationship between Commute and Depression
P16: Mapping Urban Green Space Networks with Visual Analysis
P17: Enhancing Urban Resilience against Heat Exposure: Space use patterns through Spatial Network Analysis and Thermal Comfort Assessment
P18: A Digital Urban Climate Twin of Singapore to analyse Green Plan 2030 Scenarios
P19: A Case-based Search Engine for Mapping Urban Patterns and Cases Integrating Street View Imagery
P20: Understanding Active Mobility using Computer Vision and Data Visualisation
P21: Analysing systemic traffic conditions in Singapore through epidemic spreading models
P22: A Global Bottom-up Approach to Create Urban Digital Twins (UDT): Mitigating Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
P23: Can New Urban Rail Transit Lines Reduce Car Ownership? — Evidence from the Opening of the Circle Line in Singapore
P24: Accelerating PV Adoption in Singapore: The Potential of Advanced Energy Communities
P25: Material Stock-service and Circularity Prospects of Buildings in Singapore
P26: Significant Carbon Mitigation Potential from Installed Rooftop Photovoltaics in Singapore: A GIS-integrated Life Cycle Assessment
P27: Sidewalk the Talk: Translating Street View Imagery to Correct Perspectives to Enhance Bikeability and Walkability Studies
P28: Biomimicry: Learning from Nature to Decarbonise the Built Environment through Effective Thermoregulation Strategies
P29: SURE by Ramboll – Freeware for Sustainability Based Remediation Options Assessments
P30: Adaptability of Buildings for Sustainable Built Environment: A Review
P31: Interoperable Building and Solar Energy Simulations for Augmented Cities using Dynamic Knowledge Graphs
P32: The City Energy Analyst (CEA) Toolkit Empowers Everyone in the Game of Decarbonising Citiess

Call for Abstracts (Closed)

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

The Call for Abstracts is now closed.

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 programe is as follows. For more information on the presentation synopses, please refer to https://go.gov.sg/rdcongress-socs2023

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




Theme 1: Science-Based Approach to Planning Future Scenarios 

9am - 11am

10 mins

Opening Remarks for SoC Symposium by Ms Adele Tan (Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Planner, Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore)

1h 50 mins

Keynote address [2 x 15 mins]

  • UrbanSense: Empowering Communities through Active Sensing for Sustainable Urban Development
    [Associate Professor Dr. LONG Ying, Tsinghua University]
  • Re-imagining Urban Futures: How Cities Can Leverage Strategic & Transformative Foresight
    [Dr. John SWEENEY, Westminister International University]

Presentation by academics, practitioners [5 x 10 mins]

  • A Case-based Search Engine for Mapping Urban Patterns & Cases Integrating Street View Imagery
    [Dr. Pieter HERTHOGS, Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) Global]
  • Urbanity: Automated Modelling and Analysis of Multidimensional Networks in Cities
    [Mr. Winston YAP, National University of Singapore]
  • A Digital Urban Climate Twin of Singapore to analyse Green Plan 2030 scenarios
    [Dr. Heiko AYDT, SEC FCL Global and Cooling Singapore]
  • Analysing systemic traffic conditions in Singapore through epidemic spreading model
    [Mr. Dake WU, National University of Singapore]
  • Understanding active mobility using computer vision & data visualisation
    [Associate Professor Dr. Sam Conrad JOYCE, Singapore University of Technology and Design]

Panel discussion (moderated) [30 mins]

11am -11.30am

30 mins

Networking Break

Theme 2: Science of Decarbonising Cities 

11.30am – 1.20pm

1h 50 mins

Keynote address [2 x 15 mins]

  • Sufficiency, Justice, and Transport
    [Dr. Philipp RODE, London School of Economics]
  • Design to Decarbonise: Effective Tools to Reduce Urban Building Emissions
    [Professor Amo SCHLUETER, ETH Zurich]

Presentation by academics, practitioners [5 x 10 mins]

  • From Urban Mining to Urban Harvesting: Building Shared Frameworks for Circular Future Cities
    [Mr. Pradeep ALVA, National University of Singapore]
  • Material stock-service and circularity prospects of buildings in SG
    [Mr. Anthony Meijer, Singapore University of Technology and Design]
  • Can New Urban Rail Transit Lines Reduce Car Ownership? —Evidence from the Opening of the Circle Line in Singapore
    [Dr. DAI Fangzhou, National University of Singapore]
  • Significant carbon mitigation potential from installed rooftop photovoltaics in Singapore
    [Dr. ZHU Rui, A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing
  • Accelerating PV Adoption in Singapore: The Potential of Advanced Energy Community
    [Dr. KANG Jidong, SEC FCL Global]

Panel discussion (moderated) [30 mins]

1.20pm - 2.30pm

1h 10 mins

Network Break cum Lunch

Theme 3: Regenerative Cities

2.30pm – 4.30pm


Welcome address by Professor Sacha MENZ
(Programme Director & Principal Investigator, FCL Global; Professor, ETHZ)

Opening address by Professor Thomas SCHROEPFER
(Programme Director & Principal Investigator, FCL Global; Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design)

Presentation by academics, practitioners [6 x 10 mins]

  • A global bottom-up approach to create Urban Digital Twins (UDT): Mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
    [Dr. Pieter HERTHOGS, SEC FCL Global]
  • Integrating renewables within the city
    [Associate Prof Francis LEE, Nanyang Technological University and SEC FCL-Global]
  • Dense and Green Cities for a Nature-positive Future
    [Dr. Srilalitha GOPALAKRISHNAN, SEC FCL Global]

Moderated Panel Discussion [15 min]

  • Long-term Solar PV Planning in High-Density Urban Systems
    [Dr. Alberto COSTA, SEC Future Resilient Systems]
  • Cities as Social Reactors
    [Associate. Professor Dr. CHEONG Siew Ann, Nanyang Technological University and SEC FCL Global]
  • Adaptive Planning of Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles
    [Assistant Professor Dr. Prateek Bansal, National University of Singapore and SEC FCL Global]

Moderated Panel Discussion [15 min]

4.30pm – 5.30pm


Networking Reception and Research Poster Presentations

Following the review of submitted abstracts, selected abstracts will be featured as oral presentation at the panel sessions and/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 2022

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 Dr. Jude Kurniawan (jude_kurniawan@mnd.gov.sg) and Ms Claudia Tan (claudia_tan@mnd.gov.sg).