During a recent visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia as part of LKYCIC’s on-going research project Strengthening Urban Resilience in the age of Flux (SURF), a team comprising of Dr Harvey Neo, Dr Samuel Chng, Ms Sarah Wong and Ms Dolphie Bou met with Singapore’s Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Teo Lay Cheng, to brief her on LKYCIC and SUTD’s research in Cambodia and discuss opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperations in the field of urban research.

Dr Harvey Neo delivered a lecture at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), that was jointly organised by the Embassy of Singapore in Cambodia and MLMUPC. Ambassador Teo and H.E. Tekreth Samrach, Permanent Secretary of State for MLMUPC, delivered the opening and closing remarks for the lecture. More than 300 attendees were present, including Secretaries of State, Director-Generals and senior government officials from the Cambodian ministries, industry leaders, and university leaders and students.

The lecture, titled “Making Cities of the Future Better Today”, emphasised the critical role that urban planning and policy play in addressing future interconnected challenges faced by cities in an increasingly complex, dynamic, and unpredictable world. Dr Neo discussed global trends affecting urban development including overwhelming rates of urbanisation, widespread digitalization, climate change, increasingly educated citizenries, and demands on economies to take on greater social accountability.

The lecture aimed to provide further insight into the forces shaping urban development and issues that must be addressed proactively, particularly through planning that involves a novel 3P+ partnership model involving four key stakeholders: the public sector, the private sector, people, and academia.

Dr Neo illustrated this principle by showcasing innovative solutions emerging from the cities themselves, citing notable examples from Singapore such as the Urban Farm programme City Sprouts. The final portions of the lecture saw Dr Neo sharing more about LKYCIC’s work in areas of sustainable development and people-centric research in urban policy. The afternoon’s programme also included a Q&A and a cocktail reception for further networking between the industry’s key players.