LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of mayors, governors and government leaders from cities and regions throughout the world are nearing the end of meetings in Singapore for the third biennial World Cities Summit (WCS) to discuss challenges and solutions to creating so-called liveable cities and provide “harmonious communities” to city dwellers across the globe.
The summit, which runs through July 4, is based on the theme of “Liveable and Sustainable Cities – Integrated Urban Solutions.” It is bringing participants together to discuss the latest technologies, trends on urbanization in the world and how to forge new partnerships among cities.
Begun in 2008, the summit gathers international and local leaders to address their urban issues, such as infrastructure, housing and the environment and how best to receive them.
The WCS Expo is showcasing model cities and the innovative urban solutions and technologies for smarter cities of the future. The summit also is providing an international platform for mayors, government officials and urban experts to share their thoughts on urban development, including solutions to high-rise and high-density living in cities.
The executive director of the Centre for Liveable Cities, which was created in 2008, is Khoo Teng Chye. Khoo is a major participant in the summit and says that by 2050, about 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities.
“This creates enormous pressure to ensure that infrastructure, housing, service and the environment are able to meet the needs of current and future generations,” Khoo said. “To tackle these pressures head-on, it is increasingly insufficient to address fundamental challenges on water, environment, waste and other components separately.”
A key component of the conference is the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum (WCSMF). Dozens of leaders and experts from international organizations such as the World Bank were on hand to lend advice.
The chairman of the forum, Minister of State for National Development and Trade & Industry and member of Singapore’s Parliament, Lee Yi Shyan said that “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 customized solutions,” Lee continued. “Singapore remains committed to (the) 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.”
As part of the forum, five cities were singled out for “best practices” in urban development.
Vietnam’s Da Nang City has built 268 new homes for residents who were living in “slum” conditions in its Son Tra District. These new dwellers now have access to electricity and clean water.
Community involvement has been integral to the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. About 10,000 residents told the government what they envisioned for the city for improving transit, land use and water use.
Other cities singled out for their work were Makassar, Indonesia; Bilbao, Spain, and Jilin City, China.
And Vancouver, Canada, Mayor Gregor Robertson illustrated his city’s plans.
“The natural setting of Vancouver informs every aspect of planning, design and liveability in our city,” Robertson said. “The boldness of policy making allows us to strive for an ever better city, focusing on sustainability and liveability in our city, with the goal of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020.”