17 episodes

Cities in Mind is your go-to destination to learn about cities, technology, innovation and the people behind them. All that through an Asian perspective. My name is Fabien and I am an urbanist who has been living in Singapore since 2015. Welcome!

citiesinmind.substack.com

Cities in Mind Fabien Clavier

    • Culture et société
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Cities in Mind is your go-to destination to learn about cities, technology, innovation and the people behind them. All that through an Asian perspective. My name is Fabien and I am an urbanist who has been living in Singapore since 2015. Welcome!

citiesinmind.substack.com

    🌱 [Pod] The Power of Regenerative Design: Flourish in Asia

    🌱 [Pod] The Power of Regenerative Design: Flourish in Asia

    Hello everyone!
    Our podcast series is back this week with an exciting episode about the power of regenerative design and what it means for cities across Asia.
    Wait, what is regenerative design?
    For more than three decades, architects, planners, designers and others shaping the built environment have been following and promoting sustainable design. In 1987, the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
    Sustainability was introduced with good intentions and there has been important progress in terms of energy-efficient buildings, use of materials and resources, change management and general awareness.
    But overall, the sustainable design movement has fallen short of the progress needed to prevent substantial environmental damage and climate change. The concept has been so widely misused that it has lost its original meaning.
    As architect and circular economy advocate William McDonough observed, if we get to complete sustainability, we simply get to the point of being “100% less bad”.
    Our current trajectory in construction, energy use and resource consumption guarantees we will exceed 1.5°C global warming. Across the world, natural habitats continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate.
    There is a need for a paradigm shift and the language and terms we use strongly influence the way we tackle our problems.
    So enters regenerative design.
    The quest for sustainability has moved society forward in important ways, but we believe it is now time to embrace a new regenerative approach to design and development. As a globalized society, we urgently need to reach the turning point in human civilization where everything we do has a net positive impact on the environment. We contend that this is a transformation that is within our reach. It is time to shift from merely mitigating negatives to optimizing positives. We need to embrace approaches that restore ecosystems, reunite divided communities, and reciprocally enhance the interdependent health of people, place and planet – schemes that, in myriad ways, restore what we have lost and deliver compounding net benefits – actualizing regenerative potentials that are beyond the limits of what ‘sustainability’ can imagine.
    Sarah Ichioka, Michael Pawlyn, Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency
    I hope I got you interested in this approach because that’s precisely what we will discuss in today’s episode with Sarah Ichioka.
    Sarah is a strategist, urbanist, curator and writer. She is the Founding Director of Desire Lines, a Singapore-based consultancy for environmental, cultural, and social-impact organizations and initiatives. In previous roles, she has explored the intersections of cities, society and ecology within leading international institutions of culture, policy and research, including Singapore’s National Parks Board, La Biennale di Venezia, LSE Cities, NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development, as Director of The Architecture Foundation (UK) and Co-Director of the London Festival of Architecture.
    Her new book Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency (2021) is co-authored with London-based architect Michael Pawlyn. It’s a wonderful (and engaging) read which unpacks the possibilities offered by regenerative design.
    🎙 In our podcast episode, we discuss, among other things:
    * What it means to transition from “100% less bad” to regenerative design
    * The story of the Flourish book and its five principal messages
    * How we could bring regenerative design principles to cities, especially in the context of urban Asia
    * The various tipping points to change Asia’s complex urban systems and how Doughnut Economics can help us approach Asia’s various development levels
    * The role of nature-based solutions and indigenous knowledge in today’s work on cities across Southeast Asia

    • 57 min
    🛴 [Pod] Micromobility: Turning a corner in Asia Pacific

    🛴 [Pod] Micromobility: Turning a corner in Asia Pacific

    🛴 🚲 Hi everyone!
    If you’re regularly reading this newsletter, you know that I am quite excited about all things micromobility-related.
    Over the past few years, micromobility vehicles have expanded transportation options in cities across the world and stretched the radius that people can travel without a car. Micromobility covers a large range of vehicles, typically weighing less than 500kg, some of them existing for centuries, which have been propelled into the 21st century by the electric revolution: personal or shared bicycles and e-bikes, cargo bikes, trailer bikes, tricycles, e-scooters..
    It’s a revolution that is still unfolding as we speak and which could tremendously transform the way we move around cities.
    Asia Pacific is an important market for micromobility startups and a leading pioneer in the micromobility world. China was the first country to implement a dockless bike-sharing system in 2015. Many cities in Southeast Asia followed suit, keen on experimenting with new urban mobility options. Further South, Australia and New Zealand are established markets for micromobility, with good cycling infrastructure and strong regulations.
    A couple of days ago, I had the chance to discuss with Zachary Wang, Co-Founder and CEO of Neuron Mobility. Founded in Singapore in 2016, Neuron is a safety-leading rental e-scooter company and micromobility technology developer operating in cities across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Canada.
    🎙 I am thrilled to share with you my conversation with Zach. We discussed, among other things:
    * How Neuron Mobility approaches the diversity and the complexities of the APAC market
    * Why a micromobility business is fundamentally different from a ride-hailing business (asset management business vs platform business)
    * How micromobility startups could better work with city authorities and adapt their technologies to local contexts
    * What micromobility can do to help cities in the region solve their problems, in terms of congestion, liveability, CO2 emissions
    * How micromobility operators could partner with real estate developers and property owners to create value for the built environment
    I hope you’ll enjoy the episode and learn a thing or two. Feel free to share this issue & podcast episode around you or drop it in one of your company’s Slack channels 😉
    Thanks for reading Cities in Mind! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

    🧐 If you want to learn more
    E-scooter startup Neuron Mobility adds $12 million to its Series A for expansion in Australia and New Zealand | TechCrunch Neuron going 🚀 in Australia & New Zealand
    ​​"Micromobility is urban mobility" - Issue #13 One of our recent issues summarising why the mobility revolution in cities is here to stay
    The future of micromobility: Ridership and revenue after a crisis | McKinsey McKinsey’s take on what lies ahead for the micromobility industry
    Cycle-logistics: everything you need to know The next step: moving goods using micromobility vehicles
    Small Vehicles, Big Impact | ULI Knowledge Platform A reference report compiling potential opportunities between the real estate and the micromobility industries
    How Can Micromobility Operators Reduce Charging Costs? | by INVERS — Make Mobility Shareable | Medium New charging trends to improve micromobility operations
    Micro Mobility Revolution: Startups, Companies & Market Solutions l CB Insights What micromobility looks like around the world, leaders across the space, and obstacles that these solutions are facing
    That’s it for today. As usual, a small 💚 at the bottom of this page goes a long way.
    Thanks for your support and see you next Wednesday for a new issue.


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit citiesinmind.substack.com

    • 49 min
    🌤 Episode 14 - Toward Blue Skies: Energy and Clean Air in Asia

    🌤 Episode 14 - Toward Blue Skies: Energy and Clean Air in Asia

    Hi everyone,
    In this week’s podcast episode, we’ll explore the intersection between energy production and air quality in Southeast Asia, a complex, yet fascinating, topic which encapsulates multiple challenges ranging from climate action, transition to clean energy and social justice.
    Air pollution is a silent killer whose health impacts concern almost every one of us. In 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that more than 90% of the global population lived in areas where concentrations exceeded the 2005 WHO air quality guideline for long term exposure to PM₂.₅.
    The health risks associated with particulate matter equal or smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns (µm) in diameter (PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅, respectively) are of particular public health relevance. Both PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs but PM₂.₅ can even enter the bloodstream, primarily resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory impacts, and also affecting other organs.
    In order to unpack the complexity of air pollution, I met with Isabella Suarez, Southeast Asia Analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
    CREA is an independent research organisation that focuses on revealing the trends, causes, and health impacts, as well as the solutions to air pollution. 
    Using scientific data and evidence, Isabella’s research focuses on how modern, clean energy technologies are key to improving air quality, the energy transition and the protection of public health in the Southeast Asia region.
    The WHO considers that Southeast Asia has an annual burden of 2.4 million premature deaths from air pollution. In Southeast Asia, as in other parts of the world, Particulate Matter (PM) is primarily generated by fuel combustion in different sectors, including transport, energy, households, industry, and from agriculture.
    With Isabella, we go back to the roots of air pollution in Southeast Asia and investigate the intersection between energy and clean air.
    How’s the current energy mix in Southeast Asia, heavy on fossil fuels, impacting air pollution in cities?
    We also take stock of the latest clean energy policies in the region and discuss their potential impacts on air quality and social justice. As the technologies required to plan for the future of energy will be diverse, it is crucial to ensure that clean energy policies don't have inequitable impacts on the most marginalised communities.
    I hope you’ll enjoy the episode and learn a thing or two. Feel free to share this issue & podcast episode around you or drop it in one of your company’s Slack channels.
    And subscribe now so you don’t miss the next issue!
    🧐 If you want to learn more
    How Asia is crucial in the battle against climate change Whether the climate can ever be stabilised depends largely on Asia.
    New research links Asia's air pollution with heavy economic impacts, thousands of premature deaths The economic and health effects of prolonged ar pollution in major Asian cities is an area of growing concern, and researchers appear to have made headway in quantifying the economic cost and premature deaths linked to bad air. 
    Air pollution: Asia's deadliest public health crisis isn't COVID As governments fail to curb the world's worst air, millions are dying avoidable deaths.
    New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines aim to save millions of lives from air pollution Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change.
    Why the shift to renewable energy in Southeast Asia is patchy Most of Southeast Asia’s growth in renewable energy has been concentrated in Vietnam and Thailand.
    That’s it for today. As usual, a small 💚 at the bottom of this page goes a long way.
    Thanks for your support and, for those celebrating, I wish you a merry Christmas🎄Cities in Mind will be back early Jan 2022, fully charged and with an exciting line-up of topics and speakers. Stay tuned.


    This is a publ

    • 40 min
    🌱 Episode 13 - From Linear to Circular: Southeast Asia's New Economy

    🌱 Episode 13 - From Linear to Circular: Southeast Asia's New Economy

    Hi everyone,
    In this week’s podcast, we dig a little deeper into the circular economy and its potentials for the built environment, taking the case of Southeast Asian countries and cities.
    I had the pleasure to discuss with Devni Acharya, Senior Consultant, Advisory, Planning and Design at ARUP Singapore.
    Devni has consulted on projects across the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and now Asia Pacific, advising cities, investors and developers on circular economy projects as they work towards their net zero carbon targets. She has also worked with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the adoption of circular principles in the real estate industry and on the definition of new business models to generate value and improve financial performance.
    How’s the concept of circular economy being received in the region, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic?
    How can circular principles be adopted at-scale to drive the development of new economic sectors in the region?
    Can real estate value chains in Southeast Asia adapt to circular thinking?
    With Devni, we explore some examples of circular economy policies in the region, including Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model (BCG), Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan or Indonesia’s circular economy opportunity assessment.
    2021 saw a surge in the number of circular economy plans across Southeast Asia, a region that is both a vital driver of global manufacturing, deeply integrated in global supply chains, and one of the epicentres of the current climate crisis.
    How can cities in Southeast Asia adopt circular economy principles to become more resource efficient, competitive, and innovative? That’s our topic for this week.
    Enjoy the episode and feel free to share it around or drop it in one of your company’s Slack channels!
    -- I’m sorry for the two little mic bumps at 7’45’’ and 16’42’’ 🙏🏻 --
    🧐 Some resources
    Realising the value from circular economy in real estate, a must-read publication from ARUP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation looking at new circular business models to improve financial performance and generate value
    Circular economy in cities, a suite of resources developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for adopting circular economy in cities, including different case studies
    Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model (BCG), one of Southeast Asia’s most advanced national strategy which foregrounds circularity as a driver for economic development
    Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan, a reference document, demonstrating the commitment of the city-state to implement circularity at-scale. The Masterplan sets a new waste reduction target for Singapore, reducing the waste sent to the Semakau landfill (the only landfill in the country) by 30% by 2030.
    The role of adaptive reuse in circular economy, throwback to one of our early podcast episodes when we met with Ben Gattie, founder of The Working Capitol, a co-working space that sits in an old biscuit factory, in the very city centre of Singapore
    The economic, social and environmental benefits of a circular economy in Indonesia A country with plenty of natural resources, Indonesia has the potential to be a leader in circular economy - a report led by Indonesia’s Minister of National Planning and Development (Bappenas), UNDP and the Embassy of Denmark to Indonesia
    How can Asia build a circular economy in its post-Covid recovery? The COVID-19 pandemic has created a momentum to rethink the ways our economies work. Is Asia ready to implement the concept of circularity across economic sectors?
    That’s it for today. As usual, a small 💚 at the bottom of the page goes a long way.
    Thanks for your support and see you next week for a new post. Stay tuned.



    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit citiesinmind.substack.com

    • 37 min
    Episode 12 - Making Sense of China’s Urban Future 🇨🇳

    Episode 12 - Making Sense of China’s Urban Future 🇨🇳

    Hello everyone!
    China has long been a blindspot for me and I decided to educate myself more about its growing and undeniable importance. China is at a critical moment in its history and current events might have long term consequences on the country’s future.
    From the Evergrande real estate crisis, Xi Jinping’s current crackdown on capitalism to an acceleration of climate change-related events (dramatic summer floods), China’s urban development model is under the spotlight. The conflict between marketization and state control has never been so strong in the country.
    How do these tensions translate in the urban environment? Where is urban China going? Will China manage to escape the “middle-income trap”? How could iconic initiatives such as the BRI accelerate the diffusion of China’s urban model?
    I reached out to Andrew Stokols, an urban planner and researcher, currently PhD researcher at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His research explores the intersection of urban planning and infrastructure, state power and geopolitics and mostly focuses on East and Southeast Asia. 
    Previously, Andrew has been involved in various research projects, in China, Singapore and the US, investigating the different facets of global urbanization, particularly in China and Asia.
    Together, we discuss the different phases behind China’s urbanization and how President Xi Jinping is currently making the state more central in all aspects of life in China. We take the example of a new planned city, called Xiong’An New Area, about 100 km south of Beijing in the Hebei Province. 
    The development of Xiong’an has several goals, chief among them to relieve pressure on Beijing by relocating “non-capital functions” and to stimulate new innovative industries. It has been labeled as a “1000-year project of national importance” and it is supposed to be China’s version of “city of the future”, promoted as an engine for innovation growth.
    🇨🇳 China’s urban future and why it matters for the world. That’s our topic for this week. Enjoy the episode!
    -- This episode is a bit longer than usual (50 mins) but trust me it’s worth listening till the end --
    🧐 Some resources I have used for this episode
    China and Evergrande Ascended Together. Now One Is About to Fall
    ‘What can we do?’ Chinese discuss role of climate crisis in deadly floods
    Debunking China’s debt-trap diplomacy myth China’s Belt and Road Initiative Is a Mess, Not a Master Plan
    Mapping the Belt and Road Initiative by the Leiden Asia Centre, one of the best and most updated visualization of China’s infrastructure corridors and trade routes
    Xiong'an: Designing a "modern socialist city" - by Andrew Stokols - The Space Between
    That’s it for today. As usual, a small 🧡 at the bottom of the page goes a long way.
    Thanks for your support and see you next week for a new post. Stay tuned.


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit citiesinmind.substack.com

    • 51 min
    Episode 11- Deep Cities: Is Underground Urbanism the Future ?

    Episode 11- Deep Cities: Is Underground Urbanism the Future ?

    After a 2-month trip back to Europe (followed by a 2-week quarantine 😬 ), I am back on track and happy to relaunch the Cities in Mind newsletter with a new podcast episode. Today, we'll cover a very exciting topic: 🚇 Underground UrbanismForget about skyscrapers or land reclamation, underground is the next frontier of cities! We used to go higher, wider and now it's time to go deeper.Why should we care about the underground ? Why has it become a necessity for land-scarce and high-density cities such as Singapore? How can technology help better map what's under our feet ? How are Singapore and European cities standing in terms of underground urbanism?I met with Rob van Son, Project Leader of Digital Underground at the Singapore-ETH Centre. Digital Underground is a research-​to-application project that aims to establish a reliable 3D map of all existing and future utility networks in Singapore. The project is a collaboration between the Singapore-ETH Centre and the Singapore Land Authority.
    With Rob, we explore the (often-overlooked) potential of underground urbanism and discuss why we are still lacking good underground mapping information. Reliable data of the underground is essential for the planning, administration and development of underground space and new technologies (from digital twins to ground penetrating radars) can help create a unified model of the city.
    Enjoy the episode!
    📝 Some resources I have used to prepare for this episode
    * Uncovering the Underground, a lecture by Er Professor Yong Kwet-Yew, Professor of Civil Engineering and Senior Vice President, National University of Singapore
    * AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform—Call It Mirrorworld A long read by Wired magazine founding executive editor, describing the emergence of digital twins. According to him, whoever dominates this new technology platform will have considerable power. 
    * A booklet summarising Digital Underground’s journey during Phase 1 of the project
    * Singapore goes Underground with The Digital Underground Project
    * Deep Cities Diving: a talk organized by Singapore Art Museum to discuss the future possibilities of building and living in a subterranean city
    That’s it for today. As usual, a small 🧡 at the bottom of the page goes a long way.
    Thanks for your support and see you next week for a new post. Stay tuned.


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit citiesinmind.substack.com

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Carolinenprovence ,

Very interesting podcast about cities

A podcast full of insights about the future of cities. I love the immersive sound. Very pleasant way to learn about what’s come next for cities.

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