Four ‘C’s for Well-Planned and Sustainable Urban Development
Largest-ever gathering of over 100 governors and top city leaders at World Cities Summit Mayors Forum
Over 100 governors, mayors and top leaders from 98 cities and regions discussed challenges and innovative solutions to build liveable cities and foster harmonious communities at the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum (WCSMF) earlier today. At the forum which was themed “Liveable and Sustainable Cities”, Chairperson of the Forum and Minister of State for National Development and Trade & Industry Mr Lee Yi Shyan highlighted the four ‘C’s as hallmarks of well planned and sustainable urban development:
- Courage to do the right things and take risks, sometimes against public opinion so as to build the foundations of a good city;
- Capacity of municipality and cities in terms of organisation, financial resources and competence;
- Continuity to ensure consistency of policy; and
- The need to engage the Community to engage residents and seek public support
City officials echoed Mr Lee’s sentiments about the importance of continuity of strategic plans and policies and the need to take a long term view. They also shared the need to involve all stakeholders such as government, civic organisations, academia and the private sector to discuss socio-economic issues in relation to transparency and trade-offs in the planning process. Compact cities, rather than sprawling cities, represent a good model for achieving economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability as they promote connectivity and mobility. Lastly, officials agreed that community engagement is required to build trust between people and the government through feedback and ideas from residents.
Held for the third year, the WCSMF 2012 saw a stronger and more diverse gathering of mayors with a threefold increase from 2011. It is the single largest ever gathering of top city leaders in the world with half being new participants from ASEAN, Africa, South America, India and Russia. Also present were dozens of leaders and experts from international organisations, like the World Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UN-HABITAT and Asian Development Bank.
Concluding the half-day session, Mr Lee said, “The challenges facing governors and mayors today are many. Every city is different and based on its needs, priorities and stages of development, it requires customised solutions. With our collective wisdom distilled in this Forum, I hope we can continue to interact as a group by mutual visits and bilateral communications beyond the physical and time limit of this forum. Singapore remains committed to this process of mutual learning and exchange of views. I invite all to continue to visit Singapore so that we can further our bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the areas of sustainable development.”
Mr Trac Thai Sieng, Vice Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality, said, “Phnom Penh faces a pressing challenge of providing 10,000 new housing units annually. We expanded the capital, built six satellite cities and more high-rise buildings to meet the housing needs of our growing population. This is the third time we are attending the Mayors Forum and hearing from the various mayors on how they solved the public housing challenges in their various cities had provided useful ideas for us in planning for our city.” Mr Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, Canada, said, “The natural setting of Vancouver informs every aspect of planning, design and liveability in our city. The boldness of policy-making allows us to strive for an ever better city, focusing on sustainability and liveability, with the goal of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020”.
Collection of Best Practices “City Portraits”
To document the sharings and knowledge gleaned from all three WCSMs, the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) has compiled a collection of member cities’ best practices into a publication titled “City Portraits”. City leaders who wish to continue remain in touch with their peers or solution providers after the Forum can do so via a new virtual network called “Connect@WCS”.
World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2013
Mr Lee also announced that next year’s WCSMF will be held in Bilbao, Spain. The city was the winner for the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World Cities Prize in 2010. Mr Lee said, “Bilbao City Hall has been instrumental in regenerating and transforming the city of Bilbao from an obsolete and dilapidated industrial city into a knowledge-based economy. The success of Bilbao is largely attributed to its integrated and holistic approach to achieve economic, social and physical transformations. I am sure we will learn a lot from the experience of Bilbao. And the best way to learn is to go and see for ourselves what they have done.” The WCSFM will return to Singapore in 2014.
Mr Greg Clark, Chairman of the OECD LEED Forum and Senior Fellow of Urban Land Institute, who was also the moderator for the Forum, said, “Over the years, the WCSMF has gradually evolved and established itself as one of the most important platforms in the world for city leaders to come together to discuss urban issues. Next year’s session at Bilbao will elevate the Forum to another level.”
The WCSMF is a key highlight at this year’s World Cities Summit (WCS), a global premier platform for city leaders and experts to exchange new ideas on liveable and sustainable urban solutions, explore the latest technologies and forge new business partnerships. The third edition of WCS is currently being held from 1 to 4 July 2012 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore.