How cities build resilience; It is a city with residents of 85 ethnicities, but NZ’s capital, Wellington, has managed to build social capital by avoiding ethnic enclaves and huge income gaps among suburbs, and by investing in facilities and gardens

How cities build resilience

SINGAPORE — It is a city with residents of 85 ethnicities, but New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has managed to build social capital by avoiding ethnic enclaves and huge income gaps among suburbs, and by investing in facilities and community gardens.

BY NEO CHAI CHIN –

JUNE 5

SINGAPORE — It is a city with residents of 85 ethnicities, but New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has managed to build social capital by avoiding ethnic enclaves and huge income gaps among suburbs, and by investing in facilities and community gardens.

In a quality of life survey conducted across 12 of the country’s cities, more than 80 per cent of Wellington residents said people from different cultures add to their quality of life, said Ms Celia Wade-Brown, the city’s mayor, on Tuesday at a World Cities Summit dialogue on social resilience.

“Being tolerant means there’s something to be put up with. You might be tolerant of your teenagers, you might be tolerant of loud music, but we shouldn’t be saying we should be tolerant of ethnic diversity. We should appreciate it,” said Ms Wade-Brown, who noted that celebrations in her city such as Chinese New Year, Christmas and Africa Day attract people from different cultures.

While there are some income disparities among suburbs in Wellington, which is home to more than 200,000 people and sits on the southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island, she noted that no one would know if one is on unemployment benefits, a Web developer or a successful property developer from the suburb one lives in.

But resilience is also about proper disaster management; social capital cannot be seen as a cheap way out of planning and building for disasters, she said. Wellington is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, and public buildings have been strengthened, together with widespread education on what to do when a tsunami hits.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Tacloban city in the Philippines, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan last November, said at the dialogue that rebuilding has been a little slow due to the flow of funds, but planning is largely done.

Mr Alfred Romualdez said the city of about 240,000 people has modified its building code. Instead of defining no-build zones as those less than 40m from the coast, they are now defined as land less than 5m above sea level. Structures built must be above that height, said Mr Romualdez, who noted that typhoons of a higher magnitude could be “the new normal”.

Other steps included the setting of a reasonable timeframe for action by multiple stakeholders, added Mr Romualdez, who was reported last month as saying the majority of displaced residents were still living in evacuation centres and tent communities. He was invited to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy recently and said he learnt about good mechanisms for governance. “I’ve lost a lot of people and had to pick out new leaders.”

The Rockefeller Foundation of the United States is doing its part through the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge launched last year and will provide 100 cities with resources and technical support. The first 32 cities selected last December — including Ramallah in Palestine, Medellin in Colombia and New York City — vary in size and challenges faced.

Mr Michael Berkowitz, 100 Resilient Cities’ managing director, said the foundation helps the cities hire a chief resilience officer, a senior adviser who reports directly to the mayor, works across departments and oversees the resilience strategy. NEO CHAI CHIN

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: