The Pandemic and the Public Realm: Global Innovations for Health, Social Equity, and Sustainability
Innovations in Parks: Singapore
Khoo Teng Chye (CLC Fellow) & Nicole Lum (CLC)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities have implemented quick changes to the public realm—most of them intended to be temporary—to address new challenges and meet changing needs. The Pandemic and the Public Realm features interviews with city officials, nonprofits, and other groups from more than 30 cities that have developed innovative public space projects since enhanced public health measures began in spring 2020. These inspirational examples from around the world provide insights on how to create safe, equitable, and desirable public spaces—even after the pandemic is over.
Cultural Connections Vol. 5
Centre for Liveable Cities (Michael Koh & Andy Tan)
Cultural Connections is an international journal by MCCY’s Culture Academy Singapore to nurture thought leadership in cultural work in the public sector. This year’s edition focused on the impact of Covid-19 on arts and culture and how institutions, including governments and communities, have responded to the pandemic.
CLC’s article highlights ideas for expanding cultural spaces in Singapore’s post Covid-19 neighbourhoods to enhance liveability and strengthen social resilience. These ideas are decentralising cultural facilities to neighbourhood centres, developing community museums, walking trails, car-lite neighbourhoods, murals and light-touch interventions to generate spontaneous interactions in public space. These ideas are also opportunities for greater community co-creation, ownership and governance, including learning from San Francisco’s Community Benefits District model.
Towards a Resilient Future
Pathways to a Resilient Future: Lessons from Singapores Urban Planning System
Centre for Liveable Cities (Khoo Teng Chye)
“Towards a Resilient Future”, a publication by the Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP), commemorates winning urban planning and design projects from the SIP Planning Awards. The feature article, “Pathways to a Resilient Future: Lessons from Singapore’s Urban Planning System” showcases key milestones from Singapore’s urban development journey from a harbour and trade settlement dating back 700 years to a liveable, sustainable and resilient city today. The article distils ten key principles behind Singapore’s urban planning system, including good governance and an integrated approach to planning and development that has facilitated urban innovation in a systematic manner. As Singapore keeps growing and developing into a world city in a time of climate change, demographic shifts and rapid technological development, the article explores the role of urban planners in charting the way forward for a sustainable future, both in Singapore and around the world.
Fifty Secrets of Singapore's Success
Museum (Chapter 32) & Urban Redevelopment (Chapter 38)
Centre for Liveable Cities (Khoo Teng Chye, Michael Koh)
Singapore has evolved from a developing country to a developed one, in only a few short decades. Its gross domestic product per capita has soared from just US$517 (S$697) in 1965, to US$64,582 (S$87,128) in 2018.
Impressed, visiting university students from Mexico and the United States, in early 2019, asked the city state’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh for its secret of success.
His reply: there was not a single secret but many, which he would consider curating a new book on.
The result: Fifty Secrets of Singapore’s Success.
The collection of 50 essays, written by leaders and experts in their fields, sheds
light on how the small state has scored significant success in not only economics but also eight other areas.
Among other things, Singapore is one of the world’s least corrupt countries, has one of the highest home ownership rates worldwide — of more than 90 per cent — and has world-class schools, healthcare and environments.
Singapore has also been a good global citizen. It has played a significant role in the development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the United Nations (UN), Singapore has played a leadership role in the negotiations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (also known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation) and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
Khoo Teng Chye’s article outlines Singapore’s journey from a city of slums to a highly liveable and sustainable global city through the work of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Michael Koh’s article presents the key factors for the transformation of Singapore’s museums into world-class institutions.
The Hidden Wealth of Cities : Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces
Singapore: Enhancing Urban Health and Vibrancy by Leveraging Streets, Park Connectors, and Marketplaces
Centre for Liveable Cities (Ken Lee, Mina Zhan, Elyssa Kaur Ludher, Thinesh Kumar Paramasilvam)
In every city, the urban spaces that form the public
realm—ranging from city streets, neighborhood
squares, and parks to public facilities such as libraries
and markets—account for about one-third of the city’s
total land area, on average. Despite this significance,
the potential for these public-space assets—typically
owned and managed by local governments—to
transform urban life and city functioning is often
overlooked for many reasons: other pressing city
priorities arising from rapid urbanization, poor urban
planning, and financial constraints.
The resulting degradation of public spaces into
congested, vehicle-centric, and polluted places often
becomes a liability, creating a downward spiral that
leads to a continuous drain on public resources
and exacerbating various city problems. In
contrast, the cities that invest in the creation
of human-centered, environmentally
sustainable, economically vibrant,
and socially inclusive places—in partnership with
government entities, communities, and other private
stakeholders—perform better. They implement
smart and sustainable strategies across their publicspace
asset life cycles to yield returns on investment
far exceeding monetary costs, ultimately enhancing
city livability, resilience, and competitiveness.
The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating,
Financing, and Managing Public Spaces discusses
the complexities that surround the creation and
management of successful public spaces and draws
on the analyses and experiences from city case studies
from around the globe. This book identifies—through
the lens of asset management—a rich palette of
creative and innovative strategies that every
city can undertake to plan, finance, and
manage both government-owned
and privately owned public
Navigating a Complex World - A Simple Guide for Public Officers
Governments in the 21st century operate in an environment that is more complex than before, and governance requires public officers who are skilled in complexity thinking: adaptable, fluid in thought and willing to experiment before implementing a solution.
This new guide, edited by Peter Ho and Sheila Pakir, illustrates tools and frameworks that can help public officers better navigate the complex environment. It focuses on Singapore, but many of these ideas may be transferable to other contexts.
It is available for sale at $20 (including GST) per copy. To purchase, please contact Liza Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Sheila Ng <email@example.com>
The Future of Asian and Pacific Cities 2019: Transformative Pathways Towards Sustainable Urban Development
& Inclusive Cities
Centre for Liveable Cities (Yuting
Xu, Elyssa Ludher, Kankang Zhu and Yimin Zhou)
The cities of 2030, 2050 and 2100 will be very different from today. They will be cities transformed: in their demographic composition, in their implementation of technology and in their wider ecological contexts. The challenges of building cities sustainable enough to meet the changing needs of the future will require new ways of thinking and working, as well as new kinds of multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships. The Future of Asian and Pacific Cities report 2019 makes the case for four priorities and four approaches to realize a sustainable urban future in Asia and the Pacific. A sustainable future occurs when urban and territorial planning lays a foundation; resilience guards against future risk; smart cities deploy the best technology for the job; and financing tools help pay for it all. Getting these essentials right in Asian and Pacific cities today is vital in order to adapt to the demands of tomorrow and to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda.
The Future of Asian and Pacific Cities report 2019 was jointly developed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, Centre for Livable Cities Singapore, the European Union, The Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme.
Cultural Connections Vol. 4
Place-making and Identity in Singapore:
Te Role of Integrated Planning and Our Built Heritage
Centre for Liveable Cities (Elaine Tan and Tan Xin Wei Andy)
From the early days of identifying national monuments to
the conservation of districts and historic sites, the
emphasis on identity and conservation of our built
heritage has been an integral part of urban planning.
In the journey of conservation and the search
for identity, there are key decision points, tradeoffs,
players and enabling factors that pave the
way for systemic innovation to make conservation
an integral part of planning and a significant part
of the Singaporean consciousness.
A unique built environment and the community’s
attachment and memories of places are reflective of
the history of the nation and the love it engenders
in its people, which in turn are distinguishing
contributors to identity.
Today, the public’s dialogue and active
involvement in conservation and identity issues
reflects a shift in how the public can be
engaged, the rising importance of public knowledge
about the buildings and sites that are close to their
hearts, and reveals how site history and social
memory—beyond architectural significance—is a
key element of redevelopment plans.
A Better World: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Making Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable
Centre for Liveable Cities
Singapore is a city-state with limited land and a high
urban density. These unique circumstances demand
the prudent and strategic use of space to ensure
sustainable development, given an increasing population
and the necessity of economic growth. This requires sound
and dynamic urban governance combined with integrated
long-term planning to ensure sufficient land for sustainable growth as well as a convenient and high-quality
living environment for Singaporeans. Singapore therefore
works with various stakeholders on policies such as those
geared towards public housing and an integrated transport
network, while ensuring the incorporation of green spaces
throughout the urban landscape. Ultimately, the goal is to
create a pleasant environment in which all Singaporeans
can work, live, and play.
Size: 1.25 MB
Connected Cities: Citizen insights across Asia Pacific
Embracing technology to enable more liveable and sustainable cities
Centre for Liveable Cities (Limin Hee)
The Connected Cities: Citizen insights across Asia Pacific report published by KPMG, in association with CLP, JOS, Smart City Consortium, Siemens and Wilson Group, looks at how five Asia Pacific cities—Hong Kong, Melbourne, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore—are implementing smart city development initiatives. The report features a survey of over 4,000 citizens in the five cities, tracking residents’ expectations and priorities for development in six focus areas: transportation and mobility, building a future focused workforce, living environment, healthcare, energy and resources and the impact of technology.
Across all five cities, creating a better living environment with thoughtful urban planning and design emerged as the overall top priority. A close second was improving healthcare delivery and access for residents. It takes good planning and governance to make smart cities work, says CLC’s Director Dr Limin Hee. Read more about Dr Hee's commentary and CLC’s case study on Singapore’s OneService initiative in the report.
200 Years of Singapore and the United Kingdom
Contributions of the British to Public Housing and Town Planning in Singapore
Khoo Teng Chye, Stewart Tan and Melissa Chan
The Singapore Bicentennial, which marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar in Singapore, is an opportunity to tell afresh the story of the relationship between Singapore and the United Kingdom. 200 Years of Singapore and The United Kingdom captures major historical developments before the arrival of the British, as well as during the last 200 years.
CLC contributed an essay on the foundation of Singapore’s Public Housing and Town Planning left by the British, which led to ethnic clusters and housing towns that continue to permeate the present day.
Experience Singapore (Jul-Sep 2018 issue)
The ASEAN Way: Addressing the challenges and opportunities that urbanisation and digitalisation present in the region
Centre for Liveable Cities
“Experience Singapore” is a quarterly magazine published by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and it is distributed to all the foreign participants of the Singapore Cooperation Programme’s training courses. CLC contributed an article that focuses on the opportunities, challenges and necessity of becoming a Smart Nation. The article also highlights Singapore’s efforts in achieving digitalisation in various sectors and how Singapore helped other countries to do the same through the establishment of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN).
Vietnam at 4.0 Doorstep Smart Cities
Innovative and people-centric urban development for ASEAN cities
Lim Teng Leng and Xu Yuting
CLC’s opinion piece on Singapore’s Smart Nation Development and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) was published on Vietnam Investment Review’s Bilingual Special Publication “Vietnam at 4.0 Doorstep Smart Cities”. This op-ed outlines the need to have innovative and people-centric solutions in smart cities development and illustrates the significance of ASCN in strengthening regional cooperation to catalyse smart cities across ASEAN countries.
Cultural Connections Vol. 2
A Historic Heart:
How Heritage Districts Can Make Cities More Liveable
Centre for Liveable Cities (Michael Koh and Katyana Melic)
A liveable city is one where a high quality of life, sustainable environment
and competitive economy are made accessible to all its residents.
Historic districts contribute towards the liveability, accessibility and attractiveness of a city.
Conserved historic buildings and their related urban spaces help
anchor a city’s distinctive identity, providing residents with a sense of
rootedness and civic pride, while also attracting visitors from afar.
Providing shared public spaces in these districts encourages
interactions that nurture a thriving communal life and social integration.
But all these outcomes call for the active and thoughtful participation
of local planners and programmers, and effective partnerships
between the public and private sectors, to ensure that the built environment
can contribute to Singapore’s liveability as a city,
with authentic, thriving neighbourhoods and inclusive communities.
The Population and Social Development Report 2016 - Ageing population and related policies (2016年人口和社会发展研究报告 – 老龄化及其对策)
The Population and Social Development Report 2016 - Ageing population and related policies (2016年人口和社会发展研究报告 – 老龄化及其对策)
Centre for Liveable Cities (Tan Guan Hong)
As part of CLC’s MOU with National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), CLC contributed a case study of Singapore’s urban governance and planning approach for an ageing population over the past 50 years as NDRC was analysing the urban challenge of a rapidly ageing population in China. CLC’s case study documents Singapore’s approaches, policies and programmes, particularly in areas such as senior-friendly housing and building an age-friendly city.
Livable Cities From A Global Perspective
A Global Perspective on Building a Livable City: Singapore’s Framework
Khoo Teng Chye and Chong Hwee Jane
With a population density of over five million residents living on 719 square kilometres of land, Singapore is one of only a few highly dense cities in the world to consistently rank high in various global surveys of liveability of cities. How did Singapore achieve this balance of density and liveability in a short span of five decades, and what did Singapore learn in the process of achieving this balance? Through studying Singapore’s urban development experience, this chapter distils the broad principles that have guided the city-state’s transformation over the years, and examines how these same principles also underlie the development of other successful cities around the world. This suggests that there may be broad universal principles useful for the development of liveable and sustainable cities.
50 Years of Urban Planning in Singapore
50 Years of Urban Planning in Singapore is an accessible and comprehensive volume on Singapore's planning approach to urbanization. The volume brings together the diverse perspectives of practitioners and academics in the professional and research fields of planning, architecture, urbanism, and city-making.
Making Singapore a Liveable and Sustainable City: Our Urban Systems Approach
Khoo Teng Chye and Remy Guo
Singapore’s urban development not only saw the transformation of urban slums into a thriving global city within four decades; it also achieved high liveability standards despite the high density urban environment. What are the lessons learnt in the process? This chapter illustrates the key principles of Singapore’s approach to integrated master planning and development, using examples from Singapore’s urban development process. Key urban development policies and plans are discussed to provide a practitioner-oriented insight into Singapore’s unique system of urban planning and development.
The article was published in July of 2015 in SHIN TOSHI
, a Japanese monthly magazine on urban development issues.
Building Global Competitiveness the Singaporean Way
Alisha Gill, Jean Chia
Singapore – then a 587 square kilometres island, lacking in natural resources, an industrial capital class and industrial skills - became an independent state on 9 August 1965. In 2012, Singapore’s GDP per capita (adjusted for purchasing power parity) was the sixth highest in the world at US$60,500, putting it ahead of all G7 countries. How did Singapore do it? In this article, we explain the government’s role in building Singapore’s global competitiveness.
Size: 2.06 MB
ISOCARP Review 10: Water and Cities – Managing a vital relationship
The International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) is a global association of experienced professional planners. This article was published in 2014 in ISOCARP Review issue 10 on the occasion of the 50th ISOCARP congress in Gdynia, Poland.
Water and Cities: The Singapore Story
Lau Ying Shan, Mercy Wong
Singapore is one example of a city that has been successful in managing its water resource through careful planning and meticulous execution. While the monsoons bring intense, heavy rains, its small land area means it has a limited water catchment area. Despite these challenges, Singapore has evolved from being a ‘basket case of urbanisation’ in the 1950s and 60s, to a first-world city in about half a century. Its success would not have been possible without good governance and management of water, an essential foundation for human development.
Public Sector Digest
Public Sector Digest is a Canada-based monthly periodical aimed at senior government officials and written to advance the managerial capacity of the public sector. This article was was published in the Dec 2014 issue of Public Sector Digest.
Singapore: How To Build a Liveable City
Khoo Teng Chye
Singapore today is one of only a few cities in the world recognised for achieving high standards of liveability and sustainable development, despite a high population density. This would have been difficult to imagine in the 1960s, when Singapore was plagued by economic woes, poor infrastructure and squalid conditions. This leap was the result of decades of deliberate planning and implementation to strike a balance between density, development, and liveability. The CLC Liveability Framework, distilled from a study of Singapore’s urban development experience, outlines principles that underpin effective urban planning and governance.