How do we perceive cities? What draws people to some cities, but not to others? How do we make our cities pleasant, vibrant and attractive both economically and socially?
Cities do not just `happen’. They are an evolution of history, culture and also human intervention that continually shapes and moulds them in response to dynamic changes in socio-economic forces, lifestyles and environmental considerations. In this talk, Prof Cheong Koon Hean shares from a practitioner’s perspective on how the city centre of Singapore has evolved and has been shaped over the decades, particularly by urban planning and urban design. She will identify some of the hardware and software considerations that are essential in ensuring the smooth and efficient functioning of the city for businesses and day to day comfortable living, as well as creating the special qualities that strengthen identity, character of the city and its districts, and enabling emotional connections with the community. Through this talk, she hopes to provide a better understanding of the challenges faced, the aspirations and strategies of the urban planners and designers who have worked to transform the city to what it is today.
Even as the relevance of cities is being questioned as countries grapple with the pandemic, the sharing is also intended to spur deeper conversations on the role of cities going forward, and how they can be sustained, successful and endearing.
About the Speaker
Prof Cheong Koon Hean is an architect-planner who was the former CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Housing and Development Board, and concurrently the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of National Development for 16 years. She is passionate about cities and was deeply involved in the urban transformation of much of Singapore’s urban-scape, including key development areas such as Marina Bay, Paya Lebar and Jurong East. She also steered the development of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City Master Plan. In HDB, she introduced a new generation of better designed, smart and sustainable HDB towns with a focus on health and well-being. An active participant in local and international discourse on planning issues, she serves on various expert panels advising on planning, governance, policy and sustainability issues. She has been conferred multiple recognitions, including the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding public service and is the first Asian in 2016 to be awarded both the Urban Land Institute Prize for Urban Visionaries and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Lynn S Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award.
Prof Cheong is currently the Chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities and a Professor of Practice in SUTD. Among others, she is also Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities (MND), the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee, a Fellow (Life) and Honorary Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Architects and Institute of Planners respectively, Council Member of the International Federation of Housing and Planning, the 5th SR Nathan Fellow and a member of the Asia Infrastructure Advisory Panel.
Prof Chan Heng Chee, professor at and former chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, will be moderating the Q&A session of this webinar.