Sustainability and innovation are priorities across all sectors, say SUTD design forum speakers

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SINGAPORE – Leaders from different sectors such as architecture and urban planning, consumer goods and academia on Friday stressed the urgency of sustainability and innovation to improve lives of people not only now but also for the future.

The key speakers at the third Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Design Innovation Forum on Friday were Professor Chong Tow Chong, president of SUTD; Professor Nathalie de Vries, founding partner of Dutch architecture and urban planning firm MVRDV; and Ms Roxanne Ong, senior vice-president of strategy, innovations and education at Japanese beauty brand Shiseido’s Digital Transformation Office.

They were addressing an audience of more than 450 students, alumni and design professionals as well as almost 2,000 viewers who tuned in from around the world via Zoom video conferencing.

Prof de Vries said that MVRDV is currently working on a proposal to manage rising sea levels by “working with water, and not against it”.

The old approach to developing waterfront cities using walls to keep the ocean at bay is no longer an option in an era of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

“The idea is to allow coastal developments to co-exist with rising levels of seawater and not work against it,” said Prof de Vries, 57, who is also professor of architectural design at the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology in Delft, the Netherlands.

In one of her presentations, she showed her firm’s urban design proposal in collaboration with Vancouver-based landscape architects PWL Partnership, for the Sea2City project for the waterfront city of False Creek in Vancouver, Canada.

Instead of building walls to keep the ocean at bay, a Sea Level Rise Catalogue was drawn up showing how townhouses can be redesigned to be more flood-adaptive, while inland devel...

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