SMU launches Urban Institute to explore sustainable development solutions
On 17 January 2024, SMU launched the SMU Urban Institute that will carry out research on Asian cities, to address challenges such as climate change and ageing infrastructure. The institute will bring together experts from different backgrounds to conduct research on urban cities in Singapore and South-east Asia. SMU Chairman Piyush Gupta noted that cities are facing unprecedented challenges, from demographic shifts due to migration to the rising demand for access to education and jobs. The new institute will create a hub for urban planners, designers, economists, social scientists, and policymakers to work together to explore solutions, he said. SMU Associate Professor of Geography Orlando Woods, who helms the Urban Institute, hopes it will further develop the three main pillars of research to create more impact for government stakeholders and partner South-east Asian cities. SMU also signed a memorandum of understanding with Thailand’s Thammasat University to facilitate student exchanges, the sharing of research materials and the joint organisation of seminars and symposiums. Noting that SMU has launched overseas centres in Bangkok and Jakarta to promote knowledge sharing, Assoc Prof Woods hopes the new institute will build a footprint in South-east Asia.