Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a modern, cosmopolitan and bustling city-state, where design has always played a significant role in its development. A densely populated city of 5.5 million inhabitants, Singapore’s urban design incorporates smart solutions to meet the needs of its citizens in terms of housing, healthcare, education and transportation. Design remains the key driver of the local creative economy by contributing annually about $2.13 million to the citystate’s GDP, with an estimated 5,500 active design enterprises employing up to 29,000 people.
To further spearhead the development of design, in 2003, the Ministry of Culture established the now prominent DesignSingapore Council; responsible for the design-related main programmes and events, including the Singapore Design Week (SDW). The SDW stimulates multi-stakeholder cooperation, as well as multidisciplinary approaches that are central to Singapore’s vision of design based on social inclusion, environmental sustainability and well-being.
Singapore has completed a master plan to work towards sustaining the design sector called the “DesignSingapore Council – II”. This initiative consisted of a three-pronged strategy. In a six-year period, the city has: strengthened local capacities of design professionals for the global competitive cluster, enabled small and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises to leverage design as a driver for the city’s economic and social sustainable growth, and developed innovation, research and development to enhance productivity and competitiveness of the sector at the international level.
As a Creative City of Design, Singapore envisages:
- extending the training programmes of the Design Thinking & Innovation Academy, focusing on design as an enabler of sustainable growth, productivity and prosperity;
- addressing the specific needs of the elderly population throught the “Public Service Transformation” programme to adapt urban services and therefore enhance the quality of life of the elderly in the city;
- encouraging cross-disciplinary approaches through the implementation of the “National Design Centre – Cross-creative collaborations” workshops, mixing design with crafts and folk art and gastronomy;
- organizing an exhibition showcasing best practices and projects of the Creative Cities of Design, to serve as a dialogue platform while enhancing international networking for urban planners and designers; and
- promoting multidisciplinary projects, highlighting the contribution of design to global sustainable urban development.