Publish date: 17 Sep 2021
Year on year, cities around the world vie for a place on livable city lists, those clickable soft power rankings that create a bit of chatter once a year. Singapore, long touted as the smartest of the smart cities, with its simulated windflow cooling system and open-data-optimised transport planning, has decided to look into how ‘smart’ can be more ‘lovable’, starting with the question— how can everyday tech help people love their everyday more?
For some here, that lovable smart city is waiting to be discovered. Sometimes the work to be done is not on the cityscape, but with a closer look at our relationship with it— our feelings about our day-to-day life, our winding down time, and our view of the future in this place we call home.
A 2019 study on smart cities by Singapore-based consulting firm Eden Strategy Institute found that only through facilitating co-creation and citizen participation will smart city initiatives have greater relevance to the population, and citizens can “actually realise improvements in their communities and livelihoods”. In other words, we have to make the smart city the home we want to live in.
There are many ways to take advantage of all the digital offerings around us, but first we have to decide on the kind of life we want to lead. Perhaps this means writing our own lovable smart city manifesto— listing the things that are important for us to experience, and the tech out there that can help us achieve this. A manifesto may be broken down to “lifestyle, livelihood, and love”; “work, live, play”, or in any way that makes sense to you.
In this piece, we will show you how we created our own lovable smart city manifesto.
Work comes in many forms, arrangements, and relationships to the rest of your life.
How we spend most of our day, the labour that we are passionate about, the role we play in society is a major part of feeling full as a person and connecting with the city.
The pandemic created strife but also opportunities— new pathways and fields which we had only previously fantasised about. Here are some support features to help you map out your career journey.
Screenshot of LifeSG app’s Government Schemes module
Equally important to the goal of loving the city is exploring all its nooks and hidden corners.
Travel restrictions means we are going to be here for a while, and our tropical heat is really starting to feel like cabin fever. It will do all of some good to make our own holiday close to home. To all Singapore citizens 18 and above, get organised with your $100 ReDiscover vouchers on LifeSG. Don’t let them expire, keep track of your balance, and link into all the booking partners. On another note, if you don’t plan to use your voucher, you can consider donating it. Several organisations have created initiatives to channel unused vouchers to specific underprivileged groups. Trevellog has compiled them into this list.
Still feeling pumped from last month’s Olympics fever? Leap into ActiveSG to find a sports facility near you. Maybe after you and your friends get crazy with Sepak Takraw, you can check out the other games going on nearby. You will also find that each PA facility has its own unique fun offering— Clementi CC offers a spacious roof terrace, Marymount’s got a badminton court, and Sengkang has a BBQ pit! Make it a point to venture out of your comfort zone and organise your next outing somewhere random.
Let’s get to know the other creatures that share our island. Check out one of the monkey viewing walks at the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore or perhaps a trail put out by the Unseen Singapore group. If outdoors is not your thing, you can tune into the calls of Singapore fauna in your own home with Drongo Jukebox, a 24-hour radio station that plays the calls of different species. Through a special algorithm, you never hear the same combination twice— so get lost in the wilderness of your imagination!
Lose yourself on one of Heman Chong’s Ambient Walking videos, taken on his journeys around the world. We find the ones filmed in Singapore truly special, such as 4K Hawker Culture Singapore Walk : UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage : Golden Mile Food Centre and 4K Rain Walk 37 : Heavy Rain along Serangoon Park Connector : Singapore Walk 329.Escaping into everyday scenery with this steady meandering eye may reveal some magic in the mundane.
Want to find out the story of the many statues along the river, or go on a guided bar hop on Ann Siang Hill? Check out Singapore Tourism Board (STB)’s walking trails for some inspiration on how to rediscover Singapore.
The National Archives of Singapore houses our nation’s collective memory. Explore life in Singapore from the 1920s to 2020 in photos, oral history recordings, newspaper clippings, and videos. Best thing is that many of these archives can be found online. Pull your grandparents over to your computer and show them some soundscapes of their time– a busy street in 1950’s Joo Chiat or a Hokkien funk track from the New World Amusement Park dancehall!
Caring for ourselves in order to be an able member of society is also important. Here is a list of programs aimed at different aspects of wellbeing.
Singapore has digitised its medical system, taking much of the hassle out of healthcare. TeleHealth video consultations offer appointments over the internet, while TeleRehab enables patients to undergo exercises in their own home. Their wearable Internet of Things (IoT) devices monitor patients’ progress and transmit the data to their therapist over a wireless network.
The elderly in Singapore have been affected by the pandemic’s restrictions in ways intricately tied to their less intuitive relationship with digitalisation. If you have extra time, you can volunteer in the Seniors Go Digital campaign and teach a senior how to do their marketing online or chat with their friends on a video call. Don’t forget to show them one of the most important functions of the LifeSG active ageing module— the embedded Merdeka Generation (MG) e-card. With this module, MG seniors can show their MG e-card to receive subsidies at the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) GP and dental clinics, and discounts at participating merchant outlets.
On the LifeSG app, navigate to the ‘explore’ tab. There are many articles that discuss self-care tips, from stay-home workouts to how to engage in physical intimacy during pregnancy.
Getting to know the communities that make up the city is an important step to feeling engaged in the ecosystem that we are a part of. On the LifeSG app, you can look through different charities and NGOs. Perhaps there will be one that aligns with your own mission.
Within our desirable urban dwellings and our relentless digital innovation drive, there are a multitude of ways that citizens and residents can mould Singapore to be their own lovable smart city. We have to be intentional about the lives we want to lead and the memories we want to create, in order to feel positive affiliation to our environment. Afterall, it’s really about making a home for our unique dreams.
There are many hiking trails in Singapore. This image was taken near the start of the Green Corridor.