Visit the top Urban Design Festival

Today’s Daily Paradox kindly written by Bob Gattie, Terrific Mentor, on a matter close to our hearts.

Did you know that 80% of the top floors of multi-storey car parks in space-starved Singapore remain underused? Or that, globally, it is estimated that seven trillion dollars-worth of automobiles are unused at any one time? In car-loving Singapore, private cars are one of the most under-used space hogging assets we own, sitting 90% of the time in car parks or driveways while we spend most of our days at work, in a mall, or at home. At a time when climate change, global warming, and scarce resources are claiming our attention I was alarmed to discover how my relatively little car usage may be contributing to these statistics.

I was, therefore, delighted that the up-coming Singapore Urban Design Festival, from 14 to 17 March, (www.urbandesignfestival.com) will be offering thoughts and solutions as to how spaces designed for cars can be put to better use. The Festival Organiser, Lorenzo Petrillo, and his firm, Lopelab, will be demonstrating that, in a creative, thought-provoking, and fun way by taking over the top floors of a multi-storey car park in Jalan Besar and turning them into a festival village.

Over four days there will be an opportunity to participate in day time presentations and discussions and workshops facilitated by local and international experts. Their topics will range from “Smart Solutions for Urban Cities” through “Car-lite Cities” to “Digital Karang Guni”, and built around the three themes of Resources, Mobility, and Community. In the evenings there will be energising live entertainment, local acts, DJ’s, drag performers, along with a return to a real live 80’s roller disco. And, of course, plenty of opportunity for makan and beverages.

In any discussion about cities of the future, Singapore already ranks high. Our Government has been in the fortunate position of being able to plan 20, 30, and up to 50 years ahead with the certainty that, barring any major catastrophes, those long term plans will be implemented. Other countries eye with envy that certainty without which long term planning for urban design, environmental regulation, how and where people live, is much more difficult.

Because of a better informed and educated population, the ubiquity of social media, speed of communication, and spread of free knowledge, our new technologically trained leaders will need to become ‘politicians’ who must win the votes of their constituents. This means that both we, as constituents, and they, as leaders, must keep ourselves as well informed as possible about the environmental choices we make as our spaces become more populated.

In a small island city-state, with scarce natural resources, this responsibility is especially critical. The Urban Design Festival gives us the opportunity to debate, evaluate, discuss, and prioritise, in an informal, fun, relaxed, community-focussed environment, the various options that are available to us in order to make our future cities as people-friendly as possible.

We invite you to come and join us.

You will receive a warm welcome.

Bob Gattie

Festival from 14Mar19 to 17Mar19 (www.urbandesignfestival.com)

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