COMMENTARY

Three-layered approach for liveable & sustainable urbanisation

Dr Wynn Cam

With heightened awareness of climate change risks and rapid growth of global population, sustainable urbanisation has now been prioritised by governments and communities worldwide. City planning, urban design and architectural design have the common objective of creating liveable and flourishing environments, cities, towns and buildings; and thus, have direct impacts on sustainable urbanisation. However, the three endeavours, which are carried out at different stages of work by different and yet interrelated professionals—planners, urban designers and architects—are often done in silos.

The logical sequence of works from a planner’s viewpoint starts with planning at a macro or city scale, followed by urban design when layers of details are added, and completed with the architectural design at a smaller building scale. However, a reversed sequence could often be the case. Smaller-scale neighbourhoods or building developments that are carried out without a coordinated macro-scale master plan will cause patchy developments and often result in urban chaos. Therefore, it is necessary to coordinate the roles and contributions of the three stages.

As I have been fortunate enough to experience the whole spectrum—from planning for large-scale cities, urban design for township and innovation districts, to architectural design and on-site supervision—and with a strong conviction for environmental sustainability, this article covers some of the dos and don’ts, and what we should be cautious about when planning and designing at different urban scales. Understanding the inter-scale relationship in urban planning will help us deliver liveable and sustainable built environments.

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Dr Wynn Cam

Dr Wynn Cam, a registered architect in Singapore, is passionate about sustainable built environment. With professional experiences in Australia and Singapore, he has worked on a wide range of project types and scales from urban planning to architectural projects. Notable projects include the Jurong Innovation District Master Plan, Semakau Master Plan, Kazan Innopolis Master Plan, Guangzhou Knowledge City, ESSEC Business School, High-rise Green Data Centre and Floating Data Centre.

In contribution to professional bodies, Dr Wynn has served on jury panels for architectural design competition and urban planning awards in Singapore, Council Member of the Singapore Institute of Planners, Board Director of the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment, and Think Tank Member for the United Nations–Environment Programme, Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative. He graduated with First Class Honours in Architecture from the University of Newcastle under Australian Government Scholarship and obtained his PhD in Architecture under the National University of Singapore Research Scholarship.

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