Highlighting Waterfront Developments and Public Open Spaces

Multipurpose Water Jetty, Manila Bay. All images: CPG Consultants

By Iyn Ang


Urban open spaces have always taken various forms, designs, and functions. Over the past decades, the tight relationship between city planning and health-related concerns became apparent. For many years, outbreaks of diseases and infections have highlighted the importance of considering a city’s occupants’ mental and physical health and the increased need for health considerations in urban planning and design. For this reason, in the context of today’s world, there exists a dynamic state of flux that has rewritten the conventions and meanings that people often tag to public spaces. It is fair to assume that many of us, prior to and during the pandemic, have taken urban spaces for granted. There is now a heightened and recognised appreciation for outdoor spaces for their provision of physical and mental health benefits, along with opportunities to build a stronger sense of community. As people everywhere seek spacious public spaces that the community can enjoy, there is even more interest in waterfront developments. To many, the attraction of an urban waterfront landscape never ceases.

With the evolution of urban development, waterfront developments today provide social, psychological, and health benefits to communities and deliver an excellent return on investments for surrounding developments. Depending on how careful planning and design for redevelopment can be and the repositioning of how cities see the value that their waterfront spaces bring, these spaces can rekindle and bring new life to a city’s social and urban fabric. By creating open views, improving access, defining city skylines, enhancing land value, and contributing to iconic landmarks, waterfront developments can improve and elevate a city’s image. The intangible value of waterfront spaces can also be viewed retrospectively, as they often help negotiate the different rates of urban development and define the character of the urbanscape. These areas are often where people form memories and experiences, and that eventually fosters a stronger sense of belonging and community. Creating adaptable systems and networks surrounding waterfront developments also helps shape neighbourhoods and strengthen social and economic networks.

With the evolution of urban development, waterfront developments today provide social, psychological and health benefits to communities and deliver return on investments for surrounding developments.

As more cities envision their waterfronts as lively public destinations that keep people coming back, it is essential to consider the need for climate adaptation when considering the planning, design, and execution of waterfront developments. It has thus become increasingly important for urban planners to leverage design approaches that can tackle these issues while still catering to the needs of communities by providing relatable spaces for recreation and socialising. At CPG, the Urban Planning team has identified, through our project experiences, three fundamental factors for creating successful urban waterfront spaces: nature-based solutions, multifunctional spaces, and measurable designs.

Iyn Ang
Senior Vice President, Urban Planning, CPG Consultants Pte. Ltd.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture, from the University of Tasmania in Australia in 2004, and a Master’s in Environmental Law from the Australian National University, Iyn’s career spans 16 years in architecture, urban design and planning in Singapore and the region, having been involved in a varied range of projects. Presently, with her extensive experience and other interests in tow, Iyn works, alongside her team of planners, urban designers and landscape designers, with clients, in sustainably developing, building and achieving aspirational visions for their projects locally and internationally.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in
Construction+ Q3 2022 Issue: Urban Development.
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