Mayors Forum
Lee Kuan Yew World City Price
Young Leaders
City Solution Singapore

Culture - Should Cities Care?

Co-organised with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

For the first time, the World Cities Summit (WCS) 2016 offers delegates the opportunity to discuss the integration of the arts and culture in urban planning and the design of cities. Beyond the traditional comforts of housing, sanitation, infrastructure and transport, what gives cities their soul – a sense of vibrancy and historic connection to the past? Against the backdrop of rapid technological advancements, accelerating urbanisation and growing diversity in world cities, the liveability and sustainability of cities is no longer just contingent on the satiation of material needs. Quality of life is also very much dependent on the softer aspects of what defines a city.

Recognising that a city’s artistic, cultural and creative offerings as well as both built and intangible heritage contribute to place-making, the sessions will focus on the viability of integrating heritage and culture in the planning and design of cities and how governments, business, not-for-profit organisations and community groups can work together to move culture up the urban planning agenda.

Session 1: The Case for Culture in Urban Policy

Date:     Tuesday, 12th July 2016
Time:     3.30pm-4.30pm
Venue:  Sands Grand Ballroom C-D, Level 5

Economic and population growth in cities has presented great opportunities for urban development, innovation and enhancing material well-being. On the other hand, this rapid growth also has an impact on infrastructure demands, and the environmental, economic and social fabric of cities. With the numerous challenges and planning considerations that are already weighing on city governments and urban planners, where does cultural development fit in? Should cities care about culture? The relationship between cultural development and urban planning will be an increasingly important one as cities recognise how culture can contribute to liveability, branding, identity and ownership.  

  • How do the arts, culture and heritage contribute to the civic life of a city?
  • How can cities reconcile different understandings between growth and cultural value? In this regard, what can city leaders do to harness the benefits of growth and development, while not pushing out cultural development, heritage preservation and creativity? 
  • The impact of culture is not as easy to measure as the other more quantitative indicators of a city’s growth and success. What tools have cities developed to measure the value and impact of culture on the city and its inhabitants?


Chairperson :
Prof. Tan Tai Yong, Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College

Keynote Speaker :
Prof. Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

Session 2: Spaces for Places – Approaches to Preservation and Creative Place-making

Date:     Tuesday, 12th July 2016
Time:     4.30pm – 6pm
Venue:  Sands Grand Ballroom C-D, Level 5

This panel session looks at the various approaches that cities all over the world have taken to weave arts, culture and heritage into the urban fabric. From street art to festivals, cultural districts to the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, the possibilities for preservation and creative place-making are endless, and can provide much inspiration for the city and its inhabitants. These initiatives have shaped the cultural development of cities in many ways, such as in sparking urban revitalisation, increasing cultural participation and creating a more distinctive identity for cities. However, cities also face practical challenges, such as ensuring equitable growth and sustainability, aligning different commercial community and cultural interests and fostering innovation. How have cities overcome these challenges, and what are some of the more successful approaches and strategies?

  • What soft infrastructures and capabilities need to be put in place for creative and cultural place-making?
  • How can cities ensure that strategies for preservation and creative place-making are sustainable and provide opportunities for community engagement and education?
  • What is the role of partnerships and collaborations between multiple stakeholders such as policymakers, private investors, foundations, not-for-profit organisations, artists and community groups in creative and cultural place-making? 

Chairperson :
Prof. Tan Tai Yong, Executive Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College

Speakers :
Philip Green, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore
Rosa Daniel, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth, CEO of National Heritage Board, Singapore
Duncan Pescod, CEO, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Municipal Principal, Municipal Council of Seberang Perai, Penang