Crafting a strategic roadmap for Singapore’s urban and regional planning sector

The Singapore Institute of Planners is the organization which promotes continued professional development and upholds the standard for urban and regional planning amongst urban planners and allied professionals including architects, economists, landscape architects, and transport planners.

Singapore’s successful urban transformation has been heavily driven and dominated by the public planning sector. As a result, most of the renowned local planning firms originate from public planners or were privatized from the public planning agencies, to continue to replicate Singapore’s successes across the globe, mainly in the Asia region.

However, international competition from regional planning firms have strengthened and global firms are entering the market to ride on the growth of new cities, including smart cities development in the region. While international clients continue to recognize the Singapore brand and desire to learn from its journey, it is crucial to build foresight and ensure that local urban planning firms remain competitive and relevant in the longer term.

SIP therefore commissioned Eden Strategy Institute to understand how local firms can become innovative, stay ahead of international firms, embrace planning trends such as smart city, liveability, and sustainability, originate novel planning concepts while building on Singapore’s planning strengths, and develop skills required to remain at the forefront of planning in the region.

Eden’s comprehensive approach first included a scan of Singapore’s urban planning landscape; comparative study of local and international firms; in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders including government agencies, urban planning firms, urban planners, allied professionals, and international planning associations to surface their challenges, needs, and aspirations.

With the insights, Eden crafted a holistic strategic roadmap with a set of initiatives to help the local urban planning sector enhance synergies between the public planning agencies and private planning firms to encourage greater knowledge exchange, advance skills and deepen capabilities in the latest tools and approaches, uphold professionalism to enhance the credibility of local planners, as well as inspire the sector to embrace innovation through developing collaborations, originating bold and novel concepts. The proposed initiatives were also further validated and prioritized through an online survey with urban planners in Singapore.

Eden also developed an operationalization plan for the slew of initiatives that details the programme structure, resource requirements, costs, revenue streams, staffing models, and partners to support the institute in implementing their initiatives.

The roadmap developed an overarching strategy which helped to rationalize and prioritise the institute’s upcoming initiatives, aligning with the industry’s challenges and aspirations.

Created with Sketch. "The Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP)’s journey with Eden Strategy Institute (ESI) to chart SIP’s 3 year roadmap can be described as an intensive co-creation. The methodology adopted by ESI was comprehensive, and consultative. The Final Report served as a useful guide to give SIP a good understanding of the urban planning professionals practising both in and out of Singapore, and between the public sector and private sector urban planners. More importantly, it helped SIP to identify the potential role it can play as a professional institute to better serve the industry and hence its members."

- Evlyn Cheong, Former President, Singapore Institute of Planners