1

Understandlocal practices and perception

We start by speaking to people, from government officials to regular citizens, to discover what they think and feel about participation, and how they engage or want to engage with the design and planning of spaces around them.

Highlights from our Interviews

The government does not trust the people to decide things that are good for the community. Because of this, it often withholds information and data, and invariably loads onto itself all the problems of society.

Laurence Lien
Chairman, Community Foundation of Singapore

Community engagement is an opportunity to empower people and involve them for a sense of ownership in the outcome of the project.

Mark Wee
Architect & Director, ONG&ONG Experience Design

Design, planning and use are usually determined by agencies and consultants, with grassroots leaders being consulted, but general residents are often only informed, at the most presented with limited choices.

Dr Chong Keng Hua
Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Real participation has to have a basis. The basis is democracy. We have democracy of consumption but no democracy of production.

Tay Kheng Soon
Architect

A community structure is like a family structure. It is made up of individuals with different strengths.

James Suresh
Resident and Organiser, annual street party at Opera Estate

If you like to have an event that is more catered for you, come and take part. Don’t just sit there and complain. It’s an immature way of participating, but as a society it is a growth process for all of us. We all have to feel more confident about stepping up and taking action.

Kelvin Ang
Chairman, Seng Poh Resident’s Committee

Usually there is no strong motivation for the residents or the general public to want to do something for the larger community. Perhaps it is because our public service has been effective and most people have not gone through a crisis. People tend to step out only in times of adversity.

Lau Chay Yean
Group Director, Community Relations Group, Housing & Development Board

A successful public engagement is when everyone feels they have benefited in the process.

Mark Goh
Director of Physical Planning (North East), Urban Redevelopment Authority

We wanted to create a social network for people to share resources, by lending and borrowing things they have. We found out that it’s hard for neighbours to do that unless there’s a high degree of trust and familiarity, and they know each other. So our model didn’t work because there was a missing layer - that we do not know our neighbours. We have low social capital, low trust.

Moh Hon Weng
Founder, Estatebuzz.com and Blockpooling.sg