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Sacha Kagan For The Straits Times

Let artists shape a resilient city

Published on Apr 10, 2014 12:06 PM
People pose for pictures with Wayne Garrett and Caitlind Brown of Canada's light installation "CLOUD" during a media preview of the i Light Marina Bay festival in Singapore March 6, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

LAST month, I was invited to give a keynote address on art and sustainability at the i Light Symposium held at the URA Centre in Maxwell Road. The aim of the conference was to bring together leading thinkers in the area of light and art, interrogating art's power to improve society. I had diverse conversations with artists, architects, social scientists and others, on unsustainable development. I visited neighbourhoods ranging from Marina Bay to Bukit Brown.

These first impressions raised my awareness of the specific challenges of urban resilience for Singapore. In particular, impending climate change raises the question of Singapore's "resilience" to serious future crises.

Will it survive when the trusted approaches that granted wealth and stability to the island in the past are severely tested?

The concept of "resilience" comes from the scientific study of how natural and social systems, in the past, have managed (or not) to survive by evolving in response to changing circumstances.

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