Dr Cheong Koon Hean is the imaginative architect-planner credited with shaping much of Singapore’s urban landscape. Bringing a strong background in sustainable living and smart public housing, Dr Cheong is currently Chair of the Centre for Liveable Cities and the incoming Chair of Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities. Dr Cheung introduced a new generation of well designed, community centric, sustainable and smart public housing during her tenure as CEO of the Housing and Development Board from 2010 to 2020, implementing some 1 million public housing flats. Dr Cheong brings extensive experience in land use planning, urban design, conservation of built heritage and the real estate market to bear, playing a lead role in major urban transformations locally and internationally. Her successful efforts to improve the quality of affordable housing — not just increase the quantity — for Singapore’s residents, has guided the transformation of Singapore’s public housing into award-winning projects.
Dr Cheong frequently shares her expertise as a participant on planning and urban design panels around the globe. She conceptualised the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, a biennial international award that recognizes cities and the leaders responsible for urban initiatives that display foresight and thoughtful governance. She serves on numerous advisory panels including the World Economic Forum, is a board trustee of NUS and a fellow (life) and honorary fellow of the Singapore Institute of Architects and Institute of Planners respectively. Throughout her career Dr Cheong has received numerous awards, notably the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding public service and is the first Asian to receive both the Urban Land Institute’s Prize for Urban Visionaries and the Lynn S Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. She received her Doctor of Architecture Honoris Causa from the University of Newcastle, a Master degree in Urban Development Planning at the University College London, and completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University.
“Rapid urbanisation and climate change are posing many challenges to cities, leading to a degradation in the quality of life and the environment. It is an existential issue that motivates many of us as built professionals to find urban solutions that can help make this a better world to live in”