Friday, March 13, 2015

Three principles for planning great downtowns and waterfronts

Even though Singapore is already a great city by many standards, its planners and managers do not shy away from asking people to critique it, and to explore what could be improved.

At a Centre for Liveable Cities event today, Joe Berridge, a partner at Urban Strategies, Inc. provided a lot of good insights, but three things stand out the most for me: 1) the importance of a vibrant street life, 2) the need to phase development, 3) the virtue of having a mix of big, medium, and small.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review of "Smart Cities" by Anthony Townsend

When I picked up Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend, I was expecting to learn more about "best practices" on using ICT for urban management. Something to add on to my list of inspirational stories that I could share with city leaders in Southeast Asia. After all, the author works at Silicon Valley's Institute for the Future and directs urban research at NYU.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Smart City offers something much more fundamental than a collection of urban ICT best practices. In fact, it is a call to view ICT for what it is: a tool which should be used consciously and critically to improve the lives of citizens. At the base of that call, is a reminder on the importance of good civic governance.