Calls for collaboration on sustainable city development projects

Two calls for collaboration were announced on Tuesday (Jun 9) morning for leaders in the government sector to take part in projects on the sustainable development of cities.
Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 10 Jun 15;

NEW YORK: Two calls for collaboration were announced on Wednesday morning (Jun 10) for leaders in the government sector to take part in projects on the sustainable development of cities.

At the opening of the World Cities Summit Young Leaders Symposium, Singapore's Second Permanent Secretary for National Development Chew Hock Yong said the first is for a research project to explore innovative and viable business and financing models for cities.

The call was made by the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore and a young leader, Joris van Etten, from the Cities Development Initiative for Asia.

The second call for collaboration seeks to identify good urban planning practices that integrate social protection and labour policies. It was from Ulrich Hoerning, a young leader from The World Bank.

Mr Chew said he looks forward to these projects being showcased at World Cities Summit 2016 in Singapore.

The symposium, which is into its second edition, brought together about 50 young leaders to discuss and launch initiatives to tackle urban challenges. It is organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in Singapore.

In the afternoon, the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum will see about 70 mayors and leaders discussing topics on sustainable development, such as providing affordable housing and a strong transportation network.

Now into its sixth edition, the forum will be chaired by Singapore's Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

The city was selected as the venue as it received the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate in 2012 for its transformation from one at risk in the post-Sep 11 period, to a vibrant and sustainable urban community.

On the last day of the event , the mayors and leaders will commit to a declaration for sustainable living - the first time they're doing so in the history of the forum.


The event had kicked off on Monday (Jun 8) with visits to various sites in the city so delegates can get first-hand perspectives on how policies were implemented successfully.

Officials from URA and the Centre for Liveable Cities visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial park. They were given a tour of the historical site - one of the first naval shipyards in the United States when it was established in 1801.

Following its closure in the late 1960s, it was converted into an industrial park, so it could continue to provide jobs for its citizens. Now, it houses more than 330 tenants, from manufacturers to seafood importers. The tenants employ more than 6,400 people, up from 3,600 in 2001.

The officials also visited a rooftop vegetable farm in the industrial park. Together with his partners, 34-year-old Ben Flanner opened Brooklyn Grange in 2010, out of a "passion for vegetables".

The farm supplies produce to restaurants and grocers, and runs a subscription service where customers can get a regular supply of produce for a weekly fee.

Centre for Liveable Cities Executive Director Khoo Teng Chye said this presents "lots of opportunities" for Singapore as the country has "lots of rooftops".

He thinks the advantages go beyond food production. "It's the idea that you bring communities together. There is a lot of community bonding when you do this urban farming."

Mr Khoo added: "It looks very simple, but actually you're applying a lot of knowledge, a lot of technology, to try to successfully cultivate, as they say, high-yield, high-density farming ... You cultivate all these specials, (for) salads and they say it's high-value stuff that you sell to the top restaurants."

The Singapore delegation, led by Mr Desmond Lee, also visited the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line on west Manhattan. Mr Khoo said it has a close parallel with Singapore's Rail Corridor and offers lessons to be learnt.