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Spotlight on

sustainable cities

by Serene Tng

The focus on creating better cities for the future gained traction with the latest World Cities Summit, a key global Summit on liveable and sustainable cities, held recently in Singapore from 1 to 4 July 2012.

A record number of more than 19,000 global leaders and delegates attended from 478 cities. The World Cities Summit was held together with the Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore for the first time, offering a more integrated, wider platform for networking and exchange of ideas across sectors. Leading industry leaders and government officials agreed that urban challenges can be turned into opportunities, with cities becoming new engines of growth and innovation. There is also a need for better integration across urban planning, development, governance and technology solutions, to address more complex challenges in a holistic and efficient way.

Partnerships inked

The Summit saw a stronger business focus with an extensive display of industry solutions and a sharing of market opportunities across Asia. Several partnerships were also inked. Surbana International Consultants Pte Ltd announced their appointment by the Republic of Rwanda for the master planning of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, a first for a Singapore urban planning company in the Rwandan market. IBM, URA and the Economic Development Board signed the grant agreement for the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge 2012 for Jurong Lake District. In addition, a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed between Singapore’s Housing & Development Board, Electricité de France and VEOLIA Environnement Recherche et Innovation to develop a Systems Model, to help generate sustainable, urban planning solutions for towns.

“The increase in number of public-private partnerships signed at this year’s World Cities Summit reflects the growing importance of the Summit as a platform for networking and business opportunities, bringing government and industry leaders from around the world together, to discuss challenges and share best practices for building liveable and sustainable cities of the future,” said Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of URA.

Biggest global event

This third edition of the World Cities Summit is by far the biggest global event for liveable and sustainable cities. The World Cities Summit Mayors Forum, a key highlight of the Summit, had the largest participation of over 100 mayors, more than half of whom were new attendees from China, Russia, India and countries from ASEAN, Africa and South America. The Mayors discussed challenges and innovative solutions to building liveable cities. The World Cities Summit Expo featured cutting-edge technologies and best practices from over 28 cities and 130 companies.

Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of the Centre for Liveable Cities added: “As cities today consider water and waste management solutions in the context of liveability and sustainability, the Summit will strengthen its role as an integrated platform addressing dynamic governance, master planning and leading urban solutions in the future. The World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2013 will be hosted by Bilbao, Spain, the inaugural Laureate of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. This is the first time that the Forum is going to another city, demonstrating that it is gaining traction internationally and is garnering external interest.”

The World Cities Summit is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Centre for Liveable Cities. The next Summit will be held in 2014.

In conjunction with the World Cities Summit, three new publications were produced.

A+U Magazine (Special Edition)

This special issue of the A+U magazine takes an in-depth look at Singapore as the capital city for vertical green. It features a wide range of insights with expert views on Singapore’s solutions to urban development, water, housing, green projects and Marina Bay.

Cities in Transformation: Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize

This new 120-page coffee table book presents inspiring and transformative stories of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureates and Special Mentions in 2010 and 2012.

Urban Transformations

This book showcases for the first time overseas urban design and master planning works of six Singaporean firms. It illustrates how Singapore’s rich master planning and urban design expertise have been employed in places as far as Russia, South America and Africa.


Skyline is a bi-monthly publication by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The Mayors Forum

Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize & Singapore Water Lecture (from left to right:
Prof. Kishore Mahbubani, Chairman of the prize nominating committee; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of Parks & Recreation, New York City and Prof. Mark Van Loosdrecht,
Tu Delft)