WAD2020 – Communities of the Future


In the past couple of years, there has been a steady stream of discussion in China about community governance and what Communities of the Future would look like. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that such discussions are more pertinent than ever as governments, urban planners and architects around the world seek to create a more resilient and sustainable environment to future proof our built environment. Among those pushing towards this next norm is Singapore. The city-state has been a global model in incorporating the community in its design process when creating such spaces and developments.

This, is the key topic during the WAD 2020 World Youth Designers Conference, held on on 21st November. Niew Pey Ran, director and head of DPA’s Shanghai design studio, was invited to shed some insights. The discussion surrounded how community is not just an organic unit of a city, but also an important place for urban cultural integration, citizen cohesion and the improvement of its users’ well-being. In his talk, he analysed the logic and mechanism behind Singapore’s concept of urban governance and community building and how these methodologies can be localised to suit China’s needs.

Taking Singapore’s Sports facilities planning as an example, he explained how the Singapore Sports Council had set up a multi-layered framework to service different communities, in which municipal-level sports facilities can serve as an ancillary to national events in addition to meeting the daily needs of residents. The flexibility, at such a scale, not only maximises land use but also injects new vitality into community centres.

Introducing DP’s Hub Ecology, he showed how Singapore has come a long way in designing developments that meet the appropriate middle ground for the mixing of commercial and community functions. Pey Ran illustrated this new way of planning town centres with some of DP Architects existing buildings such as Our Tampines Hub, Singapore’s pioneering model of integrated community and lifestyle hub lifestyle and GBA International Sports and Cultural Center, an integrated hub in Guangdong, China, designed to quality sport facilities alongside retail and commercial components.

Closing his sharing, the director said that the trends in the Architecture industry is constantly changing and being shaped by the needs and concerns of the community and society at large. Through digital leverage and sustainability in mind, the development of architecture, and will continue to remain people-centric at its core.