Cities are the Crucible
for a Green Recovery
The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic
will remain with us for a long time to come.
Yet as governments seek to move beyond the
devastating consequences of the pandemic, the
call to tackle climate change continues to amplify
in magnitude and urgency. How can the world
recover from COVID-19 to address this?
As Catlyne Haddaoui and Freya Stanley-Price
assert in their essay, cities are the solution.
Through interviews with city leaders and experts,
guest articles and case studies, this issue of
Urban Solutions explores how cities can exploit
their unique identities and strengths to adapt
to and even emerge stronger from a disrupted
world. Three key insights emerge in our articles:
It is time to rethink the “city”.
The traditional notion of a “city” and all that it
entails needs to be revisited to take stock of its
continued strengths and identify opportunities
In the wake of COVID-19, Prof Stephen Cairns
explains why urban density remains valuable,
and how it can be better designed. Prof Sing
Tien Foo shares how future office space will
evolve alongside changing needs and technology.
Prof Greg Clark predicts the rise of blended
“physical-digital” cities with greater flexibility in
where and how people live, work and play, and
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat shares
how Singapore is charting a new path through
the Singapore Green Plan.
A green and inclusive future is key.
A sustainable future is critical in the fight against
environmental crises, and Sylvie Ouziel outlines
the challenges for cities to address in their pursuit of this vision. Yet as Norman Foster reminds us,
cities must pursue this vision without leaving its
people—including those on the margins—behind.
Kenneth Er explains how Singapore is expanding
access to urban nature for all communities to
boost social resilience.
Cities must constantly reinvent.
In this time of volatile change, cities cannot rest
on their laurels if they want to succeed.
Many cities have shown how this is possible. The
Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize laureates—Seoul,
Medellín, Suzhou, New York and Bilbao—share
how they continue to forge ahead with bold
visions for the future, notwithstanding the global
pandemic. Cape Town’s and Tallinn’s respective
successes in overcoming a water crisis and
developing a smart city from the ground up also
provide inspiration that it is possible for cities to
adapt and flourish in spite of adversity.
History records the many triumphs of cities that
have successfully built back stronger after crises.
I hope this issue of Urban Solutions will inspire us
all to be the history-makers who build cities that
not only survive but thrive even in the face of an
uncertain future. I wish you all an enjoyable read.
Centre for Liveable Cities