Urban regeneration is important for city growth. More than just upgrading infrastructure, it presents opportunities to improve living conditions and create economic opportunities for residents. Of growing importance is inclusivity—that no one gets left behind in the process. This issue of Urban Solutions explores how cities can achieve inclusive urban regeneration. The following insights stand out:
It is essential to connect the old and the new. Cheong Koon Hean shares how Singapore achieved continuity in the central business district and in public housing. We also explore how Singapore’s heritage district Kampong Glam remains relevant while staying true to its roots.
Another crucial factor is to build for the people. Richard Florida’s sharing of how “winner-takes-all urbanism” led to socially divided cities reminds us that neglecting inclusivity has negative consequences, while Marilyn J. Taylor emphasises the need for inclusivity in large urban projects. Even smaller projects can be impactful if they are people-centric—Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil’s “urban acupuncture” initiatives show that clever design can improve residents’ economic circumstances and boost public morale. Alexandros Washburn explains the “pedestrian point of view” and its role in successful urban design. This resonates with CLC’s ideas to revitalise Orchard Road by going car-lite and increasing the depth of experience. Furthermore, examples from Tokyo and Seoul demonstrate the benefits of transforming roads into useful public spaces.
In addition, we need to plan for a variety of uses. Susan Fainstein, Norman Fainstein and Gurubaran Subramaniam share case studies of mixed-use plans that optimise the utilisation of spaces. The introduction of other uses for Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar district has also enlivened it beyond office hours. Over in Barcelona, the 22@ district proves that planning for subsidised housing and public spaces need not jeopardise economic success.
The best way to understand people’s needs is to engage the community in the renewal process. Remy Guo reports on how Seoul and Singapore leveraged community engagement to refurbish neighbourhoods. Engagement processes can also have far-reaching effects beyond physically improving a space, as Adib Jalal elaborates.
Last but not least, it is important to regenerate in a sustainable manner. Rwanda’s commitment to protecting the environment has helped the country, particularly its capital Kigali, to prosper. If done thoughtfully, everyone—not just a select group—can enjoy the benefits of urban revitalisation. I hope this issue can inspire you and seed ideas for inclusivity. I wish you all an enjoyable read.
Khoo Teng Chye
Centre for Liveable Cities