URA forms new panel to promote built heritage

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday announced a new partnership that will support collaborations between the public and private sectors and Singaporeans in shaping the nation's built heritage and identity.

The Heritage and Identity Partnership (HIP) will take on an expanded role from the Conservation Advisory Panel, which ended its last tenure in May.

The panel was formed in 2002 to advise the URA on ways to protect and conserve buildings.

Now, the HIP will also contribute ideas to sustain the built heritage and memories of places. Built heritage refers to physical structures or areas with historical value.

URA chief executive Lim Eng Hwee said: "Conservation of our built heritage has been done in partnership with the community to ensure that our conserved assets remain meaningful in celebrating our past, and relevant in meeting our current and future needs...

"As we shape up plans for Singapore's continued development as an economically competitive and liveable city, we also want to involve our partners more deeply in building an endearing home that is strong in heritage and identity."

The HIP comprises 18 members from diverse backgrounds and specialisations. They include people from the building industry, the arts and heritage sector, journalism, business and property owners, and academia.

Conserving built heritage has been getting attention from the authorities. Effort is being ramped up, for instance, to look into the restoration of Pulau Ubin's kampung houses. The URA is also studying the conservation of Jalan Besar shophouses.

The HIP, which took effect on Aug 1, comprises 18 members appointed on a two-year tenure.

They include people from the building industry, the arts and heritage sector, journalism, business and property owners, and academia.

They will engage in regular dialogue with the URA on issues concerning built heritage and identity, as well as promote and sustain the heritage and memories of places in development plans.

For example, HIP will be working with the URA on its masterplan review, to offer views on ways to integrate built heritage and identity into plans for new areas.

They will also work on promoting public understanding and appreciation of built heritage and identity. For example, the URA can reach out to the public through the HIP members' networks.

Mr Chan Sui Him, incoming chairman of the HIP, said: "Through the conservation of buildings, Singapore has retained significant parts of her heritage landscape. The HIP presents an opportunity for us to go a step further to get more views... to shape a future Singapore that is familiar and endearing to Singaporeans, even as we continue to progress and urbanise."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2018, with the headline 'URA forms new panel to promote built heritage'. Print Edition | Subscribe