Young people want a more inclusive, sustainable S'pore, URA and youth council review shows

The year-long review engaged 1,200 young people to gather their feedback and ideas. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's youth want their future living environment to be more inclusive and green, with more wheelchair-friendly public transport and nature parks.

They also expressed their desire for Singapore to stay resilient by keeping up to date with technological advancements and to retain its heritage through the conservation of monuments.

These findings were part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) long-term plan review.

The year-long review, which started in July 2021, engaged 1,200 young people in partnership with the National Youth Council (NYC) to gather their feedback and ideas about how Singapore’s physical environment should look like in the next 50 years and beyond. 

During the final segment of the review, a youth conversation held on Friday (Feb 4), participants discussed the creation of a sustainable and high-quality home that can fulfil the needs of all Singaporeans.

This, they said, would require the careful deliberation of how land is used and trade-offs to balance the needs of development and the retention of areas of biodiversity and heritage sites.

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan, who was at the session, said that Singapore needs to make do with what it has due to its scarcity of land.

“We must think about how much of our land goes towards how we work, how we live, our economy, and how we can thrive sustainably with what we have. 

“Most of all, we must continue to think big and bold; explore the world and see how we compare to other cities, and understand what is preventing us from doing better,” he said.

Mr Tan added that it is an exciting prospect that some of the plans could come to fruition over the next 50 years and he welcomed the continued contribution of ideas to the URA’s long-term plan review by youth. 

Other initiatives suggested by the young people were the integration of nature into housing, incentivising environmentally friendly practices and increasing public education on proper recycling methods.

They also suggested having more buskers and street performers to incorporate art and culture into the physical environment.

These initiatives were grouped into four key pillars for developing Singapore's future living environment which were identified during the review.

They are to make Singapore more inclusive, sustainable, adaptable and resilient, as well as to make the country more distinctive and endearing.

These were based on URA's engagement with the public, as well as emerging trends and disruptions that the country could face in future.

Since the start of the review, URA has gathered feedback from about 7,000 Singaporeans, who have shared their aspirations for the nation, as well as ideas and insights on how land can be used.

A poll conducted last year as part of the review showed that eight out of 10 respondents felt that affordable housing and building of parks, nature spaces and greenery was key to making Singapore a good place to live, work and play.

URA said it will organise more dialogues in the second quarter of 2022 to further discuss the feedback and ideas gathered from young people.

A public exhibition, slated for the middle of the year, will be organised to present the feedback from the engagement with the public, the strategies of the review and to continue gathering feedback from Singaporeans.

NYC has said it will collaborate with the Institute of Technical Education College Central to further the conversation by inviting students to visualise Singapore's redevelopment plans under the four pillars using social media.

It aims to encourage more young people to participate in civic engagement as they have a stake in Singapore's future.

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