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The great riverside revival is key to reconciling economic growth with environmental recovery, writes Jeremy Farrington in Singapore
As urban designers, we must recognise that our cities and economies are battling on a number of fronts. In 2021 the World Economic Forum identified environmental degradation as the top long-term risk and climate action failure as the second most likely threat to growth. Already cities are experiencing a significant reduction of green and blue areas, along with temperature increases, water, air and soil pollution, drought, flooding, overcrowding and sea level rises.
A concern I see expressed by most governments, policy makers, planners, developers and investors – particularly in rapidly urbanising cities – is that without a holistic approach to growth that incorporates resilient design, they face two interdependent challenges. Firstly, how do they promote economic growth and employment, ensure protection of the environment and address climate change? Secondly, how do they develop urban infrastructure, transport and services that enhance urban living and sustainability, while preserving the norms and values typical of their region?
Driven by forward-thinking programmes in countries like Singapore and Vietnam, the use of green infrastructure is stimulating an integrated approach to sustainable design, reducing the risks that climate change poses and improving quality of life for all.
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