City governments and urban authorities face a variety of challenges from multiple sources. The challenges include rapid urbanisation and population growth, ensuring that the urban infrastructure can cope with the influx of rural migrants, facilitating economic restructuring to create jobs, building an efficient and cost-effective transportation system, providing affordable housing options as well as recreation and health care for residents both young and old, and dealing with a variety of environmental challenges. Many cities also struggle with the need to balance rising demand for private real estate with the growing demand for public goods and services such as social housing, water and sanitation, public transport, communications and other utilities. They often struggle to provide the infrastructure and put in place the public services needed to deliver these essentials. The solutions to these and many other urban problems require enhanced urban management and governance capabilities, and public institutions and processes that integrate the efforts of various stakeholders – both inside and outside of government. Among the more advanced cities, the challenges are no less complex or multi-dimensional. Many seek to become the hubs of new industries, or to bolster their competitiveness by becoming centres of innovation and cultural vitality.
This programme is an intensive comparative exploration of urban governance and urban management practices in Singapore and Hong Kong. It is a learning journey that is highly relevant for urban policy practitioners in both of these cities and many others in emerging Asia and beyond. Both Singapore and Hong Kong have had widely admired successes in urban management and governance. Both are often seen as centres of innovation for urban policy. At the same time, Singapore and Hong Kong have much to learn from each other and from other cities around the world. Finally, both cities have to continually adapt and innovate as they wrestle with urban challenges – both familiar as well as novel ones.