Can Citizens Construct Communities?

Can the people who live in communities actually, meaningfully help design them?

This was the intriguing workshop I participated in this week at the Future Cities Laboratory, based at Singapore’s National University, in the Create Tower, of course!


Ten of us joined Dr Johannes Mueller to test-drive his Quick Urban Analysis Kit (Qua-Kit). It’s designed to deal with the age old problem of how communities can better get to grips with the real challenges planners face.

It’s intended to be used at traditional community consultation meetings to help locals both better understand the competing challenges but also contribute more transparently.

It involves attendees working with some base assumptions (eg. given building typology types, non-specific green space options),  but they are then given considerable latitude to “design” and locate residential, cultural and green space elements in a real world location.

We even ended up actually designing our own version of the new Tanjong Pagar precinct in southern Singapore adjacent to the central business district (mine is below).


The tool is straightforward to use and, with a bit of expectation management (!) and commitment from decision makers, could be a very useful addition to city place making.

The sponsors hope to utilise it with a specific Singapore project in the coming months.

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