by Signe Cecilie Jochumsen and Søren Smidt-Jensen
Within 10 years, the city has reinvented itself, and today the New York gives both residents and tourists confidence and renewed optimism both for the everyday life and the days to come. About the winner of the Lee Kuan Yew City Prize, Kishore Mahbubani who is the Chairman of the Nominating Committee, said: “New York is an inspiring story of urban rejuvenation. With a big vision, strong leadership, and excellent partnership between government and citizens, there is a new sense of direction in the city. It has regained its identity as one of the most exciting and prospering cities in the world.” Key to the New York’s success is the vision and implementation of the PlaNYC, which is a long-term, comprehensive plan that connect city agencies, business groups, and the community towards a shared goal.
The prestigious Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was a major highlight of the World Cities Summit where Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of Parks & Recreation received the prize comprises of S$300,000 (about US$218,000) cash, a gold medallion and an award certificate, sponsored by Keppel Corporation. Jointly co-organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore’s land-use planning and conservation authority, and the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore (CLC).
The award honors outstanding contributions towards the creation of vibrant, and sustainable cities around the world, whereas New York is the second city to be awarded the prize. The prize was given for the first time in 2009 to Bilbao for the city’s long-term planning perspective, its urban governance, and comprehensive plan to transform the city. This year New York City was selected by the Nominating Committee and Prize Council from 62 nominations received worldwide after a selection process, where six cities were identified for ‘Special Mention’ (in alphabetic order):
1. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, India
2. AHT Group AG & SUN Development, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
3. Brisbane City Council – Urban Renewal Brisbane, Brisbane, Australia
4. City of Copenhagen (and Lord Mayor), Copenhagen, Denmark
5. City of Malmö, Sweden
6. City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
One of the main strategies in the successful transformation the city has gone thought in just one decade is the massive investment in public infrastructure such as the Bus Rapid Transit and bike lane system. More significantly, according to the Prize Committee, New York has also displayed a great level of experimentation and innovation on practical urban design solutions. For instance, instead of developing on new park or plaza, more than 35,270 square meters of roadways and existing spaces in the city have been redesigned and repurposed into new ‘instant’ urban spaces. The closure of Time Square and the new public plaza in front of the Flatiron, are just two of a number of examples on how the existing build environment have been turned public space that give both function and identity to the city in a completely new way.
Articles from the World Cities Summit brought to you in partnership with The International Federation for Housing and Planning, and Sustainable CitiesTM, a part of the Danish Architectural Centre