IPS-Nathan Lectures: Seeking A Better Urban Future
by Dr Cheong Koon Hean

Dr Cheong Koon Hean is the 5th S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore.

She is the CEO of the Housing and Development Board (HDB), overseeing the development and management of some one million public housing flats in 26 towns and estates. Since joining the HDB in 2010, she has introduced a new generation of public housing and large-scale sustainability initiatives for the development of HDB towns, as well as initiated the Smart HDB Town framework.

Dr Cheong was the CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority from 2004 to 2010, in charge of strategic land use planning, conservation of built heritage and the real estate market. She played a key role in the planning and development of major growth areas, such as Marina Bay as well as the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City. She is also a nominating committee member of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.

Dr Cheong is currently on the Boards of the HDB and the National University of Singapore, and is the Deputy President and Council member of the International Federation for Housing and Planning. She was formerly a Board member of URA, JTC, Jurong Port, NHB and the Civil Service College. She was appointed an honorary fellow of the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Institute of Planners; and as the Tan Swan Beng Endowed Professor in Nanyang Technological University. Active internationally, she served on various expert panels, including the World Economic Forum’s Real Estate and Urbanisation Global Agenda Council and was a former Global Trustee of the Urban Land Institute.

Amongst others, she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding public service, the University Gold Medal and Honorary Doctorate in Architecture, the 2010 Convocation Medal for professional excellence (University of Newcastle) as well as the IWF’s 2011 Woman Who Make A Difference Award (Washington DC). In 2016, she became the first Asian to be conferred the JC Nichols Prize for Urban Visionaries by the Urban Land Institute (Washington DC) and the Lynn S Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (Chicago). 

The Context
Rapid urbanisation has brought with it a whole set of urban challenges for cities as they face unmet demand for housing, social services and utilities and infrastructure.  In addition, cities have to contend with growing complexity and disruptions from changes in population demographics, climate change, the economy, new technology and people’s aspirations and expectations. For Singapore, such challenges are further exacerbated by our land and resource constraints.

The Theme
The 5th IPS-Nathan lecture series is themed, Seeking A Better Urban Future. Dr Cheong examines how cities deal with their urban challenges to create a better urban life for their citizens. In particular, she will discuss the considerations needed to plan and develop Singapore in the face of rapid change and uncertainty.

Lecture I :  What Makes A City Successful ?  Lessons from Inspiring Cities
(Delivered on 26 March 2018)

There is no lack of plans drawn up by cities - but only some implement them successfully. The opening lecture sets the stage by taking a global view to draw insights from some inspiring cities, and to uncover their secrets of success. As a founding member of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, Dr Cheong will distil the key traits and best practices from the Prize’s laureate cities, which have led to their dramatic transformation, providing useful learning lessons for other cities, including Singapore. 

Lecture II : Anticipating Our Urban Future -Trends, Threats and Transformation 
This lecture identifies the major trends that will pose significant risks, challenges and disruptions to cities, affecting the way we develop and manage cities. What will these trends mean for Singapore and how will it affect the way we live and work? Given our unique circumstances as a city-state, what potential urban responses should we adopt that can better prepare us for the future? 
(Delivered on 10 April 2018)

Lecture III : Shaping The Future of Heartland Living
With more than 80% of the population living in public housing, the quality of the living environment in our HDB heartlands establishes the concept of `home’ for the Singaporean like no other. HDB towns too will be affected by the many trends that disrupt cities. How do we think differently about the new generation of HDB towns and renew existing ones, to address these trends? What are the useful ideas and technologies that can be harnessed to shape heartland living for the better?

Lecture III - "Shaping The Future of Heartland Living"
Monday, 23 April 2018
6.15 pm – 7.45 pm (Registration and Light Refreshments from 5.15 pm)
Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House

National University of Singapore

11 Kent Ridge Drive

Singapore 119244

For enquiries, please contact Ms Rachel Hoa at tel: 6516-8389 or email: ips.srnf@nus.edu.sg.

Please fill out one form for each attendee.


​Registration for the IPS-Nathan Lecture III is now closed as we have reached our full capacity. 

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