3rd S3: Unlocking Urban Opportunities

3rd S3: Unlocking Urban Opportunities

In partnership with Singapore’s Ministries, Sustainable Earth Office and Institute of Advanced Studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and our university and private sector collaborators are organising the third annual Singapore Sustainability Symposium (S3) in Singapore on 27th -29th April 2016. The symposium has become an international platform with a Singaporean flavour to support sustainability and urban solutions with a special interest in the challenges faced by cities and city decision makers. This year’s S3 will again serve as early input to the next World Cities Summit and Mayor’s Forum (summer 2016 in Singapore).

This year’s symposium, titled Unlocking Urban Opportunities will begin on Wednesday evening (27th April) with a round table discussion panel. The next two days (Thursday and Friday, 28th -29th April) will follow a format similar to prior years to create an interactive and generative dialogue. Our Session Chairs will preside over 3-4 short presentations at the main table, which will begin a moderated discussion process with delegates from the surrounding tables. Our local and international delegates represent many disciplines and perspectives, drawn from academia, government, the private sector, and civil society.

Our format and discussion process emphasises the connections between disciplines, stakeholders, and topics. S3 highlights and enriches multidisciplinary perspectives in the dialogue of urban sustainability challenges and opportunities.

You can download the programme here.

Key Takeaways of the Event

Technology & Innovation

  • We speak of technology in a broad sense, including engineering, infrastructure, and new product design, but also including innovation, entrepreneurship, new management systems, and the development of exciting new ideas and markets. Alongside the foundation of technology development, innovation, and good design for cities, urban stakeholders and decision makers must describe a vision of what future, equitable, and livable cities could become. In this, the recognition that good governance and technological development are intertwined is critical. While speed and scale are increasingly important, technology’s best potential is with sustainability projects that are applied, visible, demonstrable, and acceptable to stakeholders as being culturally appropriate. This also relates to ways R&D and university research should continue to support decision-making and action in cities with new ideas and options, as well as with concrete and relevant information.

Laws and Governance

  • City planners and decision-makers play key roles in championing sustainable urban development, and in implementing high-impact mitigation and adaptation solutions. Matching the scope and scale of law to social and ecological contexts, and creating a more connected approach between ecological boundaries, socio-economic drivers, and legal frameworks, is necessary for sustainability. In this, legal frameworks and a robust regulatory system continue to be crucial to ensure continued and consistent progress, as well as to protect public interest projects from being hijacked or aborted. Competition and IP laws together create the strong foundation necessary to ensure vigorous and healthy innovation. Urban sustainability is also driven with progressive zoning, new construction standards, and bold local rule making.

Economics and Financial Incentives

  • Building prosperous economies of opportunity is a goal of sustainable development, including a commitment to development that is inclusive and equitable. In fact, equity and inclusiveness are related to connecting economic development to ecological impact and planetary boundaries, and to ensuring the robustness and durability of growth and development. Similarly, these issues extend well beyond city limits, as questions of regional and global resilience, security, and economic development are increasingly issues that need discussion as part of city planning. At a more applied level, questions of city financing and financial incentives remain crucial for adaptation and mitigation solutions, including the development and implementation of technology. Discussions about city financing for sustainability hold significant potential in aligning or reforming the sources, timing, and forms of city finance with long run sustainable development goals.

Scientific Advisory Board Members (2016)

Alexander Zehnder Chair, Sustainable Earth Office, and Member, Board of Trustees of Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Chew Gek KhimExecutive Chairman of The Straits Trading Company Limited
Choi Shing Kwok Permanent Secretary of Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR)
Claude MartinChancellor of International University in Geneva (IUG)
David RunnallsProfessor at the University of Ottawa and former President of International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Geoffrey West Distinguished Professor and Past President of Santa Fe Institute, USA
Heng Chye Kiang Dean, School of Design and Environment of National University of Singapore (NUS)
Isher Judge Ahluwalia Chair, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER); India
John Keung Kam Yin Chief Executive Officer of Building And Construction Authority (BCA)
Khoo Teng Chye Executive Director of Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC)
Peter Ho Hak Ean Senior Advisor of Centre for Strategic Futures, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Chairman of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
Phua Kok Khoo Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Shi Nan, 石楠 Vice President and Secretary General of the Urban Planning Society of China; Vice Director of the National Steering Board for Planning Education, National Commission for Planning Education Accreditation and National Board for Certified Planner System
Simon Upton Chairman and Founder of the Round Table on Sustainable Development, established by the OECD Secretary-General in 1998

Speakers Presentation Files (2016)

Amb Kim Chang-BeomInnovation Wave in Seoul
Anders KarlssonDigitalization, Science & Sustainability
Andrew Potta Foundation to Sustainable (Resilient) Development
Er Lam Siew WahDriving higher performance in green buildings through Research and Innovation
Jasjit SinghThinking Strategically about Sustainability
Joel RogersTaking the High Road
Jonas EbbessonMatching the Scales of Law to Social-Ecological Contexts: from Local to Planetary
Kenneth RichardsCarbon Pricing and Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy
Nilesh Y. Jadhav Strategies in Singapore for Low Carbon Technology Development
Severin LenelBest Practices for Sustainable Buildings and Urban Development
Stephanie DraperMulti-stakeholder Consortiums for Delivering Sustainable Value Chains

Video Highlights

Snapshots of the Symposium