26 November 2020
For Youths

“Intelligent Planning Should Be At the Heart of Urban Planning” – Dr Liu Thai Ker at Closed-Door Dialogue Session with BCYC


Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC)  hosted one of Singapore's most prominent and veteran urban planner and Founding Chairman of Morrow Architects and Planners, Dr Liu Thai Ker on 23 Oct 2020.

During the session, Dr Liu tapped on his decades of experience which include being the former CEO of Singapore's Housing Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to share his insights on urban planning with BCYC members. The event was led by Veronica Low, Vice-President (External) of BCYC and moderated by BCYC member, Bryan Chang. 

Urban Planning as a Holistic Discipline

Dr Liu highlighted the cross-disciplinary characteristic of urban planning. According to Dr Liu, good planning puts together “a humanist heart, a scientist’s mind and an artist’s eye” to create a city that is liveable, functional and beautiful. As a result, urban planning is a challenging task that requires good team effort.

Planning on Solid Principles

In addition, Dr Liu shared about the importance of planning cities on sound solid principles. As Dr Liu posited, underlying concepts of good city planning include liveability, sustainability, functionality, people-centricity, connectivity and integration. Taken together, these principles will drive the creation of a sustainable city and provide a framework for further city enhancement. 

Balancing People and Land Needs

Dr Liu also emphasised how urban planning should satisfy people and land needs, such that the city created would be conducive for living, while ensuring a long-term sustainable ecological environment.

The City System

Dr Liu thinks that a city is not merely a collection of projects, but a big, organic system. As a result, all components of the city should work together and planning should be done on both micro and macro scales. 

Celebrating Teamwork

Dr Liu credited Singapore’s urban planning success as a combined effort of the government and planning professionals. With clear, forward-looking strategic direction from the government and a strong political will, the groundwork was laid for Singapore’s urban planning, which planning professionals collectively drove. As Dr Liu puts it, “no man is an island”. The success of Singapore’s urban planning is reflective of this adage.

Staying Grounded

Lastly, Dr Liu echoed it is important for urban planners to stay grounded. The best urban planning efforts usually come from long-term planning and the resistance of short-term fame. Keeping this in mind, Singapore should be able to continue planning good cities for its people, and enjoy continued success in urban planning.


About Business China Youth Chapter

BCYC is a voluntary group of youths that envisions to be the leading Singapore-based community that inspires youths to be China-savvy and facilitate their connections with China. Supported by Business China, BCYC has a vibrant calendar of activities which serve the needs of the BCYC community.

To join Business China Youth Chapter, please email bcyc@businesschina.org.sg .

This article is contributed by Business China Youth Chapter Member Lim Ying Min.