Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) is launching an ambitious vision to create a global network focussed on Transformative Research and invites you to help shape it at this symposium.

Please join us on Wednesday 11 July at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Register here.

Context The world is undergoing a profound transformation that will see additional 2.5 billion people living in cities by 2050. The vast majority of these will be in Asia and Africa. How will the future cities that will accommodate these urbanising populations be designed? Who will plan and build them? How will they be managed and inhabited? What new paradigms will be required for sustainable collective life? Current resource-intensive norms cannot provide the credible answers. Existing silo-thinking cannot deliver the innovation that is so necessary.

Call We call for research that actively stewards and guides the transformation that urbanisation will bring. This requires intensive collaboration between city makers of all stripes, be they scientists, community organisers, planners, architects, engineers, artists, ecologists, managers, politicians, financiers, developers and/or citizens. We propose a research network based on the values of collaboration, building on foundations established by FCL in Singapore and ETH Zurich in Switzerland, with the support of many partners in government, academia, industry and civil society.

Symposium The symposium will showcase three cases of cutting-edge transformative research on:

Compact Cities – ‘Waterfront Tanjong Pagar’
Responsive Cities – ‘Cooling Singapore’
Inclusive Cities – ‘Open City Bandung’

Each case sets out the transformative, methodological and practical aspects of the research. A range of speakers — mayors, planners, designers, government authorities and policy makers — will contribute their views on these cases and on priorities for future cities research. We also invite the audience to help strengthen and sharpen the vision.

Guest Speakers

Chan Hui Min (Director, DP Architects)
Chiu Wen Tung (Group Director, Urban Redevelopment Authority)
Robert Guild (Chief Sector Officer, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB)
Ridwan Kamil (Mayor of Bandung)
Jyoti Shukla (Director, Singapore Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub, World Bank)
Johnny Wong (Group Director, Housing & Development Board)

The symposium will be moderated by Karishma Vaswani.

Transformative Case 1

Compact Cities – ‘Waterfront Tanjong Pagar’
Intensive economic development, rapid population growth, and the concentration of high value jobs in cities have led to exceptionally high population densities in urban Asia. The heightened proximity of people, the deepening interdependency of technological systems (information, water, waste, energy), and pressure upon urban ecologies that result, present novel challenges for designing appropriately compact city forms. This session will showcase one approach to these challenges, by focusing on research and design work undertaken by the FCL team for the development of Tanjong Pagar, one of Singapore’s most complex urban sites. It will demonstrate fresh interdisciplinary work that incorporates innovative methods, sophisticated data-driven simulations for flows of energy, mobility and water, responsive morphologies, anchored by an innovative approach to design.

Transformative Case 2

Responsive Cities – ‘Cooling Singapore’
Urban Singapore is much warmer than its rural surroundings – by up to 7˚C. This temperature rise is a result of heat being trapped in the built fabric of the city (the urban heat island effect), among other factors, exacerbated by urbanisation and global warming. It presents a serious challenge to liveability in Singapore and many cities in tropical regions. Science, design, technology and policy can play a role in improving such conditions. More importantly, a paradigm-shift from smart to responsive cities is necessary. A responsive city facilitates greater understanding of the urban microclimate across diverse groups: researchers, policy makers, developers, and citizens. One of the outcomes of the Cooling Singapore project is a responsive city roadmap, developed with inputs from diverse stakeholders, to provide actionable knowledge for policy makers to tackle urban warming.

Transformative Case 3

Inclusive Cities – ‘Open City Bandung’
The largest and most densely populated settlements in the majority of Asian cities are usually the most disconnected from formal planning processes. They usually contain the poorest neighbourhoods, lacking access to drinking water, waste management, amenities and proper jobs. Yet, they are also at the front-line of urbanisation, functioning as arrival cities where rural migrants begin their lives in the city. A paradigm-shift is required to include such settlements in planning processes: how to support existing local grass-roots initiatives; how to enhance the accountability and reliability of government planning systems; and how to connect the two. This case study presents outcomes of field research on selected kampungs in the city of Bandung and a set of innovative big data-led grass-roots innovations. These outcomes demonstrate how the concept of an inclusive city can be supported by developments in data science, urban design, and community engagement to help link residents to each other and to government planning systems.

Photo Credits: SHAU,

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