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    Jun 02, 2014

    Urban issues: S'pore can learn from others

    IMPROVING Singapore is a "journey without end", and the island state can learn from other cities as new challenges emerge, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last evening.

    He was speaking at the opening of the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit at Marina Bay Sands.

    "People's expectations are rising," he said. "Other cities continue to move ahead, developing innovative solutions and setting new standards."

    Mr Lee added that, in the past two years, more than 100 million people have moved to cities, and 70 per cent of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2050.

    And new challenges such as climate change have surfaced, producing floods in London this year and Cairo's first snowfall in a century last year.

    Singapore has tried to manage water, energy and nature carefully, and transformed Marina Bay from a "dirty river dotted with pollutive industries and slums", but it can still learn from other cities' experiences, such as Manhattan with its central hotline for municipal services, Copenhagen with its "pocket parks" downtown, and the Spanish metropolis of Bilbao with its arts and cultural spaces, he added.

    It is also engaging citizens and residents by preserving Pulau Ubin's nature through the Ubin Project, which asks for public ideas to protect the rustic island, and carrying out public consultations to review its sustainable-development blueprint, Mr Lee said.

    At the three major biennial events this week, which run from yesterday to Wednesday, some 20,000 government leaders, experts and other delegates are expected to meet and discuss solutions to the world's urban issues.