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Singapore — More than 130 mayors and city leaders from 128 cities gathered at the World Cities Summit 2018 in Singapore to address challenges and innovations for future-ready cities. Sixteen Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and agreements were inked, paving the way for collaborations between cities and stakeholders in the public, private and people sectors. Interactions at this global platform attended by more than 1,700 delegates provided opportunities for city leaders, industry experts and leading academics to explore how cities can be more livable and sustainable through better urban governance, planning, building resilience and leveraging on innovations.

Held July 8-12, the 2018 edition of the World Cities Summit-Singapore International Water Week-CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (WCS-SIWW-CESS) events drew more than 24,000 trade attendees (compared to more than 21,000 in 2016), including government officials, industry leaders and city experts, academics as well as representatives from the business community across 110 countries and regions. This year, WCS went beyond the broad themes of urban governance and livable cities to embracing the future of cities through innovation and collaboration. The Summit showcased integrated urban solutions necessary to address pressing challenges faced by cities, forged new partnerships, and brought together the top echelons across the public, private and people sectors.

“Out of the 128 cities that participated in WCS 2018, 67 cities are first-time participants and 61 cities are returning participants. The strong show of support from city leaders, industry experts and leading academics alike bear testament to the increasing prestige and appeal of WCS as the leading international platform for urban sustainability conversations and innovations,” said Michael Koh, joint spokesperson for WCS-SIWW-CESS.

Creating people-centric cities

Besides combining good governance and engagement of their citizens, cities are also looking to become inclusive, creative and sustainable with a high quality of life. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2018 Laureate, Seoul, South Korea, shared at the Prize Lecture on how leveraging smart technology and the collective input of its citizens have helped tackle issues associated with rapid urbanization.

The four cities accorded Special Mentions – Hamburg, Kazan, Surabaya and Tokyo – further demonstrated how they have overcome planning challenges to develop cities of opportunities for their citizens.

Citizen involvement and proper communication with stakeholders is crucial in shaping people-centric and livable cities. Beyond urban infrastructure, citizen engagement should be integrated for all plans and ground-up processes should be incorporated into day-to-day operations. Big data presents the opportunity to allow decision-making on the finest details, providing transparency to all citizens and ensuring no one is left out.

Innovation and collaboration

The key theme of innovation was further reinforced by the collaborations and MOUs announced during WCS 2018.

“We are seeing greater collaboration efforts with the best minds in urban planning and development from private companies, international organizations and government agencies at WCS,” Koh added. “The combination of urban governance, planning, resilience, and innovation will form the foundation of a livable and sustainable city for the future, one that addresses and meets future demands of cities amid rapid urbanization.”

The next World Cities Summit will be held in July 5-9, 2020 in Singapore.

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