The second Singapore Speakers Series took place in Beijing on 31 May 2013. About 120 enthusiastic Singaporeans spent an engaging evening with Dr Liu Thai Ker, Director of RSP Architects Planners & Engineers.
The 75-year-old former chief of both the Housing and Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority gladly took the stage to talk about Singapore’s urban planning story. In doing so, he brought Singaporeans through a visual journey of Singapore developments from the past to the present, and highlighted key transformations in housing, infrastructure, city layout and population density. Lauding Singapore as one of the most liveable cities in the world, Dr Liu reminded the attendees not to take Singapore’s success story for granted.
Address by Dr Liu Thai Ker.
Dr Liu moved on to talk about the key urban challenges that Singapore faces today and the key principles of governance that should undergird Singapore’s progress. In doing so, he recounted some interesting encounters he had when carrying out urban planning projects in China, Russia and Singapore. He also jokingly commented that a real urban planner was in fact one who could diagnose ‘illness’, fix “urban machines”, and predict and prevent problems.
When discussing some of the hot topics in Singapore, such as population growth and housing, Dr Liu linked economic growth to population increase and higher density, and cautioned that Singapore could be marginalised if our economy did not continue to grow. Dr Liu concluded his address with a reassuring note that pragmatic, smart thinking had helped Singapore succeed in the past and he was confident that Singapore would be able to continue with its recipe for success.
The question-and-answer session that followed was an engaging one where he shared his views on population growth, Singaporeans’ competitiveness and employment.
Presentation of token of appreciation
The evening continued with a scrumptious spread of Singaporean cuisine for dinner. Many Singaporeans also took the opportunity to network among fellow Singaporeans and with Dr Liu.
By Marcus Hee