Designs tackling the challenges of urbanisation on display

Acting Minister for Manpower Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (right) graces the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition: Everyone Ages exhibition as the guest of honour. Award-winning designs by students on tackling the challenges of urbanisation
Acting Minister for Manpower Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (right) graces the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition: Everyone Ages exhibition as the guest of honour. Award-winning designs by students on tackling the challenges of urbanisation are now on display at the Urban Redevelopment Centre at Maxwell Road. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Award-winning designs by students on tackling the challenges of urbanisation are now on display at the Urban Redevelopment Centre at Maxwell Road.

The exhibition, which features 20 entries from the Vertical Cities Asia International Design competition, was officially launched by Acting Minister for Manpower Mr Tan Chuan-Jin on Tuesday evening.

Students from 10 universities worldwide were tasked to plan a 1 sq km plot of land in Seoul, South Korea, while facing limitations such as having adequate elderly care and employment amid a high density environment.

Into its third year, the competition which gives its first prize winner $15,000, is jointly organised by the National University of Singapore and the philantropic organisation World Future Foundation (WFF) which provided funding of $1.5 million.

WFF chairman Dr Feng Lun said his interest in sustainable vertical cities, was spurred on by China's own rapid urbanisation which led to enormous economic growth, as well as careless wastage of land resources. "While urbanisation improved efficiency, it has failed to bring the expected happiness to many citizens," he said.

Already, some of the ideas from this competition are being incorporated into projects in Chengdu.

Mr Tan said the concept of vertical cities is one familiar to city state Singapore, with its ageing population and high-rise buildings.

Beyond the design, well-thought out cities would also be able to encourage stronger community ties, he said.