$150m R&D programme announced to discover new urban solutions

People walking on the Jubilee Bridge with the skyline of Central Business District in the background.
People walking on the Jubilee Bridge with the skyline of Central Business District in the background. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - In the face of new urban challenges that increasingly require local innovations, the Ministry of National Development (MND) on Thursday (June 29) announced a new programme to find solutions for them.

The Government will set aside $150 million for The Cities of Tomorrow Programme, which will "prioritise and focus our R&D (research and development) efforts on critical areas of national concern, so that we can achieve our vision of a highly liveable and people-centric city with a sustainable urban ecosystem", said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

The minister announced this at the opening ceremony of the two-day Urban Sustainability Research and Development Congress held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, which began on Thursday.

Speaking about the need for Singapore to develop its own solutions, Mr Wong said: "In the past, we could learn from the experience of others and adapt overseas solutions to our own circumstances.

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"Nowadays, we are, in many ways, operating at the frontier in different areas, and so we must invest in our own research to push the boundaries ourselves... and find cutting-edge solutions to address new and increasingly complex urban challenges."

Mr Wong cited the need to mitigate the impact of climate change, like extreme weather events, and to optimise limited resources in land, water, energy and manpower as some of these challenges.

Under this programme, three key R&D areas that will receive focus are: building advanced construction and resilient infrastructure to enhance construction productivity; creating new spaces to ensure sufficient capacity for Singapore's long-term development; and having a sustainable and inclusive city to provide a high-quality living environment for Singaporeans.