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WCS Thematic Track Plenaries


What makes a good city?

A "good city" is not just a collection of buildings and infrastructure, but a place where people can live fulfilling lives with access to necessities, opportunities and a sense of community. City leaders must be committed to continually rejuvenate their cities and plan for the long-term, while remaining flexible and responsive to the changing needs of residents.

Plenary I: How can cities rejuvenate for the better?

Developing and mature cities alike need to constantly revitalise themselves to maintain liveability. Yet, it can be hard to make changes, especially in older cities, when things are already built or running in a certain way. This plenary discusses how successful urban renewal can be achieved if planning and governance are organised in ways that prioritise well-being and inclusivity across communities and generations.

Plenary II: Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Lecture and Forum

Delivered by the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate, the Prize Lecture celebrates the 2022 Laureate’s achievements in the creation of liveable, vibrant, and sustainable urban communities with a high quality of life. The Prize Forum features the Special Mention cities, who will share their urban development experiences, highlighting their unique contexts, challenges faced, and urban solutions deployed.


How can cities lead climate actions towards 2050, and what lies beyond?

The world is on a critical path towards limiting warming to 1.5°C while facing climate tipping points and major disruptions. With cities accounting for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, cities play a key role in climate actions. It is vital for cities to lead with resilient and regenerative approaches, taking in account low-carbon transition, nature, well-being and community involvement.

Plenary I: How do cities adapt and thrive in an era of climate emergency?

Cities play a crucial role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions from building and infrastructure systems. What are some steps that cities can take to overcome obstacles and accelerate the transition to a more resilient future?

Plenary II: How do cities accelerate towards urban regeneration in harmony with nature?

Regenerative design moves beyond the standard of green and sustainable practices, and embodies the concept of 'giving back more than it takes' Can cities embrace this ethos and related principles in their planning and governance to promote resource sufficiency, human well-being, and the stewardship of natural ecosystems?


How should technology shape human-centric cities of tomorrow?

Artificial intelligence, advanced smart grid systems, the advent of the Metaverse – there has been an unprecedented surge in smart technologies in recent years. How can the transformative potential of these smart tools be unlocked to reinvent liveable cities for all?

Plenary I: How do we create human-centric smart cities?

Cities should not be ‘smart’ for smart’s sake. This plenary explores how technologies can be harnessed to overcome social challenges and build trust, inclusivity, safety and accessibility for people.

Plenary II: What makes a city truly smart?

Cities are complex adaptive systems. Technologies need to be sensitively designed and implemented to synergise long-term infrastructure development with responsive urban governance and management. This plenary discusses how developing a science of cities, backed by data and scientific analysis, can enhance understanding, and support, how cities work.


How do we close the urban infrastructure gap through Sustainable Finance?

Countries have agreed to fund climate-related loss and damage to assist vulnerable communities. However, there continues to be a large gap in the financing of sustainable urban infrastructure. How can cities move from the rhetoric of ESG strategies to action and implementation?

Plenary I: What are the innovative approaches to the sustainable financing of cities?

To address the financing gap, cities need to explore and urgently adopt innovative approaches such as blended finance, impact investing, and alternative financing mechanisms such as land value capture.

Plenary II: How can we optimise cities’ potential for sustainable finance?

This plenary discusses how cities need to incorporate ESG meaningfully into their risk management and infrastructure planning, to improve their credit worthiness and drive sustainable financing of infrastructure.


What are the new frontiers for urban life?

New cities are being built from scratch, while other cities are developing new regions and districts on greenfield sites.

How can planners, developers, businesses and the community take the opportunity to jointly develop “cities of the future” on a clean slate, with revolutionary urban and social paradigms that support the liveability of cities across generations?

Plenary I: What are the paradigm shifts needed to build future cities?

The world is facing resource constraints, climate stresses, and new divides are forming along values and generational lines. This plenary discusses how new approaches in the way we live and work. Further deep dive into how play, learn, move, consume and interact are needed to build liveable cities now and for future generations.

Plenary II: From Vision to Reality: Developing Future Cities

This closing plenary explores how partnerships with businesses, communities and people should be included in planning processes and governance approaches in the development of future liveable cities.