Published October 25, 2008

UN lauds S'pore urban devt


SINGAPORE has been lauded as an example of a successful urban centre by a United Nations report that studies the state of the world's cities.

The report was issued by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) this week, which aims to provide an update on the challenges facing global urban areas.

Published every two years, this year's report has the theme Harmonious Cities, focusing on three main areas of urban development: spatial, social, and environmental harmony.

Singapore's 'financial trade and communication services' have contributed to its 'significant economic and population growth in recent years', the report said. It also pointed out that Singapore has made 'concerted efforts to reduce levels of air pollutants'. This was aided by Singapore's low private motor use, efficient public transportation system and low levels of energy consumption. Singapore also does not have any slums, which is rare in an urban centre.

UN executive director for UN-HABITAT Anna Tibaijuka wrote: 'Enlightened and committed political leadership combined with effective urban planning, governance and management that promote equity and sustainability are the critical components to the building of harmonious cities.'

Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) director Andrew Tan pointed out that concerns over employment, the environment, safety and security tend to surface as cities increase in size. 'Dealing with these challenges requires a multi- faceted response at the national, regional and international levels,' he added.

CLC is a think-tank that brings together Singapore's expertise on sustainable urban development from the government, industry and academia.

The key findings of the report can be found on the CLC website ( sg), which was launched yesterday.