LA is doing water better than your city. Yes, that LA.


Matt Simon, Wired, 12 June 2018

But Los Angeles is in the midst of an aqueous awakening, setting an ambitious goal to cut its reliance on imported water in half by 2025 by following an increasingly urgent rule of good water policy: diversification. In a nutshell, that means getting your water from a range of sources—rain capture, aquifers, wells, desalination, even right out of the air. A study from UCLA earlier this year even said the city could feasibly reach 100 percent locally sourced water. To do it, the city is diving into a series of high- and low-tech campaigns that could transform Los Angeles into a model city for water management.

To find out about Singapore’s ‘Four Taps’ and leading water supply policy click here.

The biggest risks facing cities – and some solutions


Robert Muggah, TED Talk, September 2017

It’s a small opportunity but a golden one: in the next 10 to 20 years, to really start designing in principles of resilience into our cities. There’s not one single way of doing this, but there are a number of ways that are emerging. And I’ve spoken with hundreds of urban planners, development specialists, architects and civic activists, and a number of recurring principles keep coming out. I just want to pass on six.

First: cities need a plan and a strategy to implement it. I mean, it sounds crazy, but the vast majority of world cities don’t actually have a plan or a vision. 

Second: you’ve got to go green. Cities are already leading global decarbonization efforts.

Third: invest in integrated and multi-use solutions. The most successful cities are those that are going to invest in solutions that don’t solve just one problem, but that solve multiple problems.

Next, fourth: build densely but also sustainably. The death of all cities is the sprawl. Cities need to know how to build resiliently, but also in a way that’s inclusive.

Fifth: steal. The smartest cities are nicking, pilfering, stealing, left, right and center. They don’t have time to waste.

And finally: work in global coalitions. You know, there are more than 200 inner-city coalitions in the world today. There are more city coalitions than there are coalitions for nation-states.

To learn more about Robert Muggah, his work on evidence based urban policy and data visualisations, visit the Igarapé Institute here and SecDev here.

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats


The Economist, 6 July 2017

Today there are about 1m HDB apartments, largely clustered in two dozen new towns that extend in a semicircle around the city’s coastal core. Each year the government sells a fresh batch of as-yet-unbuilt flats, predominantly to first-time buyers. They all come with 99-year leases and are sold at lower-than-market prices, though successful applicants must wait three or four years for their blocks to be completed. Alternatively Singaporeans can choose to buy existing HDB apartments directly from their owners, at whatever price buyer and seller can agree. First- and second-time buyers get money through government grants, regardless of whether they buy new or old flats. Quotas ensure that the mix of Chinese, Indians and Malays in each HDB block reflects the ethnic make-up of the country as a whole, a measure designed to preclude the formation of racial enclaves.

For another article about Singapore HDB program, see ‘“But what about Singapore?” Lessons from the best public housing program in the world‘ from the World Bank’s website.

Multi-cultural communities and global trade from 1500-1900


Honeycombers Editorial, 3 Feb 2017

Centuries before the proliferation of social media, networks of people, cultures, and information flowed freely between port cities such as Batavia (Jakarta) in Indonesia, Goa in India, Canton (now Guangzhou) in China, and, of course, Singapore. Spawned by advances in ship technology and knowledge of sea routes, these cities were thriving, cosmopolitan hubs of trade. They’re great examples of early globalisation and the hodgepodge – or “rojak” – of ethnicities, language, culture, lifestyles, and fashion.

For short films about the Port Cities exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore click here for a presentation on the life of Cornelia van Nijenroode, and here for another on the Indian Chettiars of Saigon.

Planet Earth II: Cities


Sir David Attenborough (Narrator), Hans Zimmer (Composer)
Planet Earth II, Episode 6, Cities, BBC, 2016

The complexity of urban life favours the clever, but to compete with humanity during daylight hours takes more than just intelligence – it takes nerve. One enterprising species of monkey has moved into the city of Jaipur in India – the Rhesus Macaque. But how to get a share of all this juicy fruit …

Artist: Lee Xin Li



从小善于绘画的李欣立,喜欢阅读盖‧德利斯勒的漫画作品与埃尔热的《丁丁历险记》。他用漫画手法画出实里达、梁宙、德光岛等富有特别意义的地点。欣立也常常描画空军,建筑物和本地文化与历史有关的主题比如《粿》和《Peta Singapura》。

身为一位新加坡国立大学建筑系毕业生,他喜欢通过画笔,还原已消失的国家剧场和大世界等场所。他在写实中,融入漫画的绘画风格,同时把新旧事物放在同一幅画中,展现强烈的对比与新加坡的变迁。欣立在2015年把这系列的作品编译成了一本书:《Sayang Singapura》

Ernest Zacharevic


Barrel Of Monkeys, Kuching 2014

Kutching, the capital of Sarawak State on Borneo Island is found in the wild east of Malaysia.

Borneo is one of the last natural habitats for the Orangutans as well as being recognised as one of the most rapidly deforested areas in the world. These two just don’t go too well together…

For more street art by Ernest Zacharevic, click here.