Michael Leong interviewed by CNA on designing cities for mental wellbeing

3 June 2024

Senior Executive Director Michael Leong shared his insights on the role of urban design in promoting better mental wellbeing, in a live TV interview on Singapore's Channel NewsAsia.

The interview followed an announcement by the Singapore government to invest S$1 million into researching on how the built environment can have an impact on mental wellbeing. The findings may shape future plans to improve the liveability of urban spaces.

Michael noted that despite being a dense city-state with competing land use needs, Singapore's green cover exceeds 40 per cent — the presence of which has been clearly shown to provide health benefits. He said: "Having this knowledge is very important, because it takes time for us to create an environment that makes that possible."

He added: "We have the ability to make the best out of the little that we have, such as squeezing out the bits of underutilised spaces in pockets of urban environments." He cited the activation of spaces under rail viaducts as one way of optimising land use to foster wellbeing.

Michael, who was joined by UK-based architect Ben Channon, emphasised the importance of setting aside spaces for community and intergenerational bonding.

Watch the interview by Channel NewsAsia here.

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