Forum 2 – Urban Experience Reimagined

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13 JUN Wednesday

2:15 pm - 6:00 pm

We are seeing a surge of thoughtful, creative and more radical approaches to reinvigorating public spaces and reinventing urban experiences in cities around the world.

Urban environments influence the way we live, work, play and connect. Public realm is playing an increasingly important role in improving quality of life and addressing urban challenges. Finding innovative ways to activate public spaces, enrich public life and engage communities through a people-centred approach and design-led solutions is critical.

The transformation goes beyond re-designing our urban surroundings and infrastructure, as it inspires a rethink of policies and regulations and new ways to experience the cities in response to the changing lifestyles and values.

How brands and businesses embrace today’s healthy lifestyle trends and sustainable consumption also contributes to the making of liveable cities.

Forum 2 looks at how urban planners, designers, thinkers and businesses are shaping our cityscape and the ways we understand and reimagine our urban experience.

  • How might we make cities more walkable, inclusive, playful and interactive for people of all ages and abilities?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities in creative placemaking? How can policies and regulations be more responsive and adaptive to the new challenges and emerging trends?
  • How to unlock the creative potential of people and communities and encourage public participation in the process?
  • What data can tell us about our future? How can we use datasets in more meaningful ways for future planning and design of cities?
  • What are the disruptive trends in business and tech that are shaping and redefining our urban experience?


Christine Loh, SBS, JP, OBE (Moderator), Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, HKUST (Hong Kong)

James Corner, CEO, James Corner Field Operations (United States)

The Design and Function of Public Space in the 21st Century City
A presentation and discussion on contemporary design approaches toward public spaces, parks, waterfronts and urban centres, with a focus upon New York’s High Line, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, and Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront.


Tom Kvan, Director, AURIN (Australia)

Knowing what you are talking about: The role of data in design
As data becomes increasingly available, a new realm of design activity becomes possible. National spatial infrastructures are being implemented across the world and open up new ways to approach the design and implementation of smart and liveable cities. This presentation tells how data has been used in Australia to deliver research insights to the urban condition and to underpin the development of urban policy, development guidelines and service deliveries. Founded in 2010, AURIN is a national spatial data infrastructure formed for broad research and policy making purposes with over 10,000 users accessing a growing volume of data currently at 4,000 data sets.


Markus Shaw, Chair, Walk DVRC Limited (Hong Kong)

People, not Vehicles: Planning Hong Kong’s Future
Cars don’t vote. People do. Markus Shaw will call for Hong Kong to have its politics aligned with the aspirations of its citizens, especially of the young people, for a healthier and more inclusive city. He will talk on urban planning, the need to reduce road traffic and the measures needed to address obesity, mental health, congestion,​ pollution and climate change​. The Walk DVRC initiative believes that through the partial pedestrianisation of Des Voeux Road Central, a decaying Central Business District can be revived and that this is a true placemaking opportunity where neighbourhoods can be created, economic gains can be achieved and Hong Kong’s culture and heritage can be showcased.


Justin Yu, Co-Founder, Plan b (Taiwan)

Redefine Open Space: Urban Issue is Fake Issue
Almost 80% of the population currently lives in the city. Therefore, any city in the modern society must inevitably evoke a series of issues, after rapid development over decades. Creativity, after all, apparently becomes a practical strategy to solve urban issues in the modern era.

Creativity needs to be spread in space, to sprout within crowds, and ultimately to be fermented at the corner of the city, creating impacts. Among all, open space plays a vital role, which serves as a buffering zone between home and work, and it is an experimental base for various creative activities in cities.

However, while cities in Asian countries are developing, there is a serious problem of wasting land resources in the cities. Thus, how to redefine the open space, with utilising sustainable development and design thinking as its mindset, has become a primary solution to the urban issues.


Martha Thorne, Dean, IE School of Architecture and Design (Spain)

Living in cities. Livable cities?
With so much attention given to the speed and scale of urbanization globally,  it is not always easy to bring the conversation down to the level of livability as understood by residents.  Bridging this gap is especially relevant to architects and designers.  How we improve the quality of life in cities, even when they are so dynamic and constantly changing,  has to do with new techniques for approaching urbanism,  architecture and public participation among other crucial factors.


Catherine Shaw (Moderator), Architecture, Art & Design Writer (Hong Kong)

Tim Stock, Co-Founder / Managing Partner, scenarioDNA (United States)

Rethinking Utopia, A Systems Thinking Approach to the Future of Cities
The composer Claude Debussy once said, “Music is the space between the notes”. Cities too should be hearing that wisdom. Most modern cities that have emerged from the 20th century focus too much on the notes and not enough on the space between. The vision of a city’s future says a lot about how well the relationship between people, technology and liveability is understood. The design of cities has been far too technology-centric. A 1958 utopia imagined cities with the car as the central driving force. Today we obsess over driverless cars. The present model of design is stuck in a service of invention over innovation.

Utopia needs to be rethought as a system. It is important that Utopia is not landed upon. It evolves, like a good marriage. But we build to what we think is state-of-art. Systems thinking allows us to embrace the potential ambiguity and adaptability of cities. By the time a state-of-art design is inhabited, we are onto the next latest state-of-art. We have all notes and no space between the notes, a series of dated states-of-art with no room for breathing. To breathe is to live.


Stanley Wong (anothermountainman), Founder / Creative Director, 84000 Communications Limited (Hong Kong)

In Tandem: City Value and Lifestyle
In the discussion of city liveability, we articulate the concept with different keywords and perspectives, such as physical and mental well-being or chic lifestyle.

As a creator and communicator, the role is to agilely strike a balance between humanistic values and urban economic development at different times. We can collaborate with commercial investors and corporates to the common interest of the city. That’s our profession and responsibility.


David Yeung, Founder, Green Monday (Hong Kong)

The Green Food Revolution and Social Innovation
Can the current food system support a foreseeable 9 billion population by year 2030 in a healthy, sustainable and humane way?

Creativity and innovation are key to shaping a liveable, healthy lifestyle in a holistic, sustainable, inclusive and innovative way.

To co-create a liveable world, everyone plays an indispensable role in making changes happen. Corporates are to act responsibly, consumers behave consciously and governments lead with vision.

David Yeung, an environmental advocate and founder of Green Monday, a social venture that addresses healthy living and food insecurity, will share his views on the forces that will disrupt the industry and explore opportunities for a liveable future.

Programme is subject to change without prior notice.