Urgent need to design a more sustainable future: SUTD forum

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SINGAPORE - Design should be harnessed to create innovations for a happier and more sustainable world. This was the key message at the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) Design Innovation Forum 2023 on Friday.

This is the third year that the forum held at the SUTD Auditorium has been organised in partnership with The Straits Times.

Discussing the theme of Design For A Sustainable World, panellists highlighted how design can play a crucial role in creating sustainable solutions and shaping a better future.

In light of the environmental challenges that the world is facing, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity, future generations need innovative measures to create a sustainable world for them to live in.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, the event’s distinguished guest, said in his opening remarks that Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew tackled the issue of designing for sustainability long before it was a buzzword.

“One of Mr Lee’s consuming passions was about trees. We are one of the rare city-states to have such a high percentage of green cover,” said Mr Heng.

Mr Heng reminded the audience that Mr Lee placed great emphasis on greening Singapore and stressed that it is something we should continue to be committed to, because climate change is an existential challenge for Singapore.

Panel member, Professor Nathalie de Vries, a founding partner of Dutch architecture and urban design firm MVRDV, spoke about the significance of sustainable design in architecture and urban planning, to make buildings less singular in function, more productive and more transformative.

This multiplicity in design makes buildings more resilient in the face of unknown challenges in the future.

“We want to understand what we are going towards, so we can help by imagining possible futures,” she said in response to a question about redesigning existing Asian cities which are densely populated and contribute to pollution.

In his keynote address, Professor Chong Tow Chong, president of SUTD, stressed the importance of institutes of...

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