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Singapore’s youths play bigger role in shaping our city

  Published: 22 March 2017

Youth ideation, talent and energy take centre stage at this year’s Urban Planning Festival as they take on a more active role in this year’s programme. Officiated by Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Home Affairs and National Development Mr Desmond Lee, the 2017 edition aims to help students from secondary schools, junior colleges and polytechnics discover the significance of their role in making Singapore an endearing home and a distinctive city.

Designed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the Urban Planning Festival was launched last year to raise awareness among youths about the importance of urban planning. This year, the festival features a greater degree of student participation in a more extensive programme. Over the course of three weeks, student volunteers from various schools will be leading and facilitating a variety of experiential learning journeys such as workshops, talks and tours. Youth creativity will also be showcased as students present their perspectives of our urban environment and built heritage in various exhibitions.

Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of URA, said, “Our youths are the future, and this is a platform to grow their interest and involvement in urban planning and design. The Festival is designed to sensitise our young people to the physical constraints of our small island city-state, and inform them that they have a role in shaping the future Singapore that they want. Their response to such activities has been very encouraging, and we have enhanced this year’s programme for them to do more.”

New additions to this year’s festival include 3D modelling classes, workshops on design and fabrication of street furniture to activate public spaces, as well as outdoor activities such as site surveys, heritage tours, and learning trails with planning and heritage themes. The programme for the Urban Planning Festival is listed in Annex A [PDF, 30kb].

Student engagement

The Urban Planning Festival extends URA’s outreach efforts in developing youth interest in our built environment, and nurturing our younger generation to be active citizens in planning and shaping our city. URA has worked with schools for more than a decade, and draws over 20,000 students annually to the Singapore City Gallery at the URA Centre to deepen our youths’ understanding of our city’s planning journey, and its challenges and opportunities. Students get to experience what is like to be an urban planner through existing programmes such as the Challenge for the Urban and Built Environment (CUBE) workshop and competition1. See Annex B [PDF, 1.4MB] for more information on the CUBE programme and the winners of last year’s competition.

URA’s youth engagement efforts continue with the creation of another opportunity for our students to get more involved. The Conservation Student Volunteer Guide Training Programme is a new initiative by URA’s Conservation Department and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West to train students as volunteer conservation guides. From learning about how conserving our built heritage is an integral part of urban planning and development in Singapore, students also come to appreciate how conservation gives us a greater sense of history and identity, and helps create a city with a distinct character. To date, 30 ITE students have undergone training. Recognised earlier today by Mr Lee for their participation, these newly-minted student guides for built heritage will be contributing to the Urban Planning Festival programme by leading tours around Tiong Bahru.

The Festival is ongoing and will run till 31 March 2017.



1 Organised annually for junior college and polytechnic students since 2009, CUBE is part of URA’s effort to instil an appreciation of a well-designed built environment, and inspire ideas to reimagine Singapore’s urban landscape. Last year’s workshop saw 16 teams from local pre-university institutions develop concepts to create a distinct character for the Buona Vista node. Their proposals are on display at the CUBE exhibition.