'People-first' focus make urban spaces liveable

Singapore is a model for a liveable and sustainable city. credit: World Bank

Innovative planning, design and development practices that emphasize a “people-first” focus can help ensure that rapid urbanisation does not compromise liveability and sustainability, according to a new publication by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC).

10 Principles for Liveable High Density Cities: Lessons from Singapore draws upon Singapore’s successful urbanisation experience - despite its population density, the city-state has consistently ranked favorably in various surveys measuring the liveability and sustainability of cities around the globe.

The ten principles in the publication were developed during two workshops hosted in 2012 by the CLC and ULI Asia Pacific, bringing together 62 thought leaders, experts and practitioners from different disciplines related to urban planning and development.

Discussions at the first workshop centred around the four case study districts in Singapore that both organisations consider to be both densely populated and highly liveable: the mixed-use downtown district of Marina Bay; the commercial corridor of Orchard Road, and two new public housing developments in Toa Payoh and Tampines.

The ideas and principles so generated were further developed, corroborated, and condensed into ten principles. The electronic version can be accessed online at http://www.clc.gov.sg/Publications/booksandreports.htm

In the foreword to the publication, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Minister for National Development, points to the lasting benefits of building cities for people.

“The inexorable trend of urban population growth in modern times is not likely to stop. Even for countries with no shortage of land, the growth of their urban populations has confronted their cities with constant challenges to the quality of their living environment…For Singapore, these challenges have been compounded by the limitations of its size as a small island,” he said. “Maintaining a good quality, liveable high-density urban landscape in which all Singaporeans can find and make a home is crucial to the survival of the Singapore nation.”

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