The strength of a city lies in the diversity of its talent, its capabilities and its population. Diversity enhances innovation and ideas, mitigates risks, ultimately improves its survivability. Yet this same potential requires careful nurturing and management, to avoid the flip side of dissonance and social fragmentation.
This session studies the means and models that policymakers should consider, in recognising and celebrating diversity and balancing the needs of different community groups. Participants will debate how best to foster conditions for creating social capital and building inclusive and harmonious cities.
- Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Singapore
Community engagement efforts are as important as infrastructure planning in creating inclusive, harmonious, sustainable and liveable communities, especially in an age of growing globalisation with pressing demographic shifts. The key theme will be integration – between races, languages, and religions; socio-economic classes; ageing in place whilst encouraging young families; new citizens and Permanent Residents. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan will share on the challenges Singapore faced in sustaining a multi-racial city, and, moving forward, what measures are being put in place.
- Mrs Carrie Lam, JP, Secretary for Development, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
Compact cities such as Hong Kong face unique constraints. A small land size, coupled with the need to remain competitive as a global city pose challenges to city planning. Catering for sustained growth necessitates tighter planning through land zoning and integration of infrastructure etc. Mrs Carrie Lam will share the challenges met and trade-offs made when planning and developing Hong Kong’s infrastructures to meet the diverse needs of the different communities against the background of growing globalization.
- Mr Richard M Rosan, President, Urban Land Institute Foundation, USA
As cities become increasingly globalised and exposed to a myriad of economic, social, political and cultural forces, the role of land use planning in creating harmonious and sustainable communities becomes a priority issue on the agendas of policy makers and urban planners. Mr Richard M Rosan will share on innovative land-use planning approaches based on the ULI’s experience in cities worldwide, which have helped to achieve greater harmony, liveability and sustainability within communities.
Mr. Rosan will focus on city livability from the aspect of using urban open space as an amenity that contributes to both economic and social vitality.
He will offer examples of cities worldwide that have created successful open spaces, with a particular focus on the progress that has been made in U.S. cities over the past two decades. Each example will underscore the power of well-designed public space to be a focal point for cities, bringing together residents of different incomes, races, age groups, and social status.
His remarks will show how the “greening” of cities is a trend that will pick up momentum in the decades ahead, as the fortunes of cities are determined by their ability to attract people to places that are appealing to work and live. Several demographic, economic and environmental factors are driving this trend in the United States. Among them:
- The U.S. population will grow by an additional 150 million over the next 40 years.
- The “baby boomer” segment of the population, at 75 million strong, is aging, with the oldest reaching 65 starting this year. Most will shun retirement and stay in the workforce.
- The children of baby boomers, Generation Y, another large segment of the population (approximately 80 million), has started to enter the housing market and workforce.
- Household size is shrinking, due to more people living alone, delaying marriage and childbirth, and having fewer children.
- In the past decade, cities have become increasingly strapped for revenue, (even more so during “great recession’) causing many to improve quality of life as a way to attract investment.
- There is an increasing federal effort to reduce car dependency with “livable community” initiatives that collaborate planning around transportation, environmental preservation and housing.
- The air and water is cleaner in cities throughout the U.S.; however, concerns over climate change have resulted in government mandates aimed at limiting carbon emissions from vehicles and buildings.
Mr. Rosan will make the point that these changes are related, directly or indirectly, to more creative design and development of urban open space. The result: cities that are better prepared to meet residents’ expectations for livability, amenities, flexibility and choice.
- Mr Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup Organisation, USA
Liveability has become a hotly debated subject and key objective in many cities’ urban development plans. Quantifying it has however remained an elusive matter. Mr Jim Clifton will discuss the different liveability metrics and how the adoption and outcomes of this metric-based approach in various cities have helped to improve liveability as well as make policies.
One of Gallup’s biggest and most important discoveries, ever, in our 75 years, after conducting literally millions of interviews across 150 countries covering 98% of earth’s inhabitants to discover the will of the world, is that what the whole world wants is a good job. No one knew that before. They thought the whole world wanted peace and good health and a family. They did but now “a good job” tops everything.
Most city leaders of all shapes and sizes currently run their cities with classic economics. Classic economics are the institution of data on virtually everything an individual and the whole city and country and world…transact. Classic economics are the numbers of life. They are what we go to business school to learn, they are what governments, businesses, all institutions from wall street to public schools to hospitals to armies use…..to record everything. Neo classic economics. The leaders tool box of numbers on everything.
But what if neo classic economics are trailing indicators and happen “after” prevailing states of mind and actions because they reflect the history of what a constituency of people “did” not what they are “thinking.” What if city leaders could create strategies around the left hand side of the curve rather than the right hand side? What if they could have the same institution of data for behavioral economics and decision making that they have for trailing indicators?
The big point is that numbers do exist for states of mind in the new fast advancing sciences of wellbeing and behavioral economics. And what city leaders need to know is that Gross National Wellbeing (GNW) for a city occurs before Gross National Product (GNP) in their city.
City leaders have to be open to the fact they are working with the wrong economics of life and choice and wills.
- Mr Jonathan Mills, Festival Director and Chief Executive, Edinburgh International Festival
How do the Arts contribute to ‘liveable’ cities? What is the role of an arts festival in the creative life of a modern city? What are the key conditions necessary for the attraction and retention of creative endeavours? How can the Arts facilitate dialogue within local and global communities? Mr Jonathan Mills will share his experiences working with various cities to create festivals that bring vibrancy to them.
Mr Mills will share his experiences of Singapore and examine its development as a city - historically, economically, architecturally, artistically, ecologically and politically.
Mr Mills will analyse the role of creativity; and attempt to define it in terms of its overall existence within a city, and more specifically Singapore.
The discussion will also include some investigation into the importance of creative thinking, especially in the context of urbanisation, modernisation and our relationship with the environment. There will be further consideration around the role and history of festivals in general, with particular emphasis on the Edinburgh International Festival: of which Mr Mills has been Director since 2006.
In addition, Mr Mills will examine the nature of the Festival itself; as a celebration of artistic rarity and urban specificity, capable of creating a unique reflection of the city in which is exists.