Designing built environment around people is key: Prof Lam Khee Poh

Prof Lam shared his thoughts on how design features of workplaces can affect people's decisions on where to work and live

Should workplaces be situated closer to homes? The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many employees working from home in Singapore. A survey, conducted with 9,000 respondents during Singapore’s circuit breaker, has also shown most indicating interest in continuing with flexi-work arrangements.

Plans to decentralise the Central Business District (CBD) have been ongoing for some time and work places have also been brought closer to homes. For instance, one-north in Buona Vista features sectors like biomedical sciences, infocommunications technology and media,  and is supported by nearby educational and research institutes such as NUS.

NUS Design and Environment Dean Professor Lam Khee Poh noted that designated focused features of such vibrant hubs, located near residential neighbourhoods, can be helpful for people when deciding where to live and work. In a recent media article, Prof Lam explained that these planning strategies offer differentiation in the overall function and character of each district, including location choices for different people with different career interests.

Prof Lam also weighed in on how Singapore's work and residential spaces can be made more adaptable to situations such as the pandemic, agreeing that designing around people is key.

"Cross-disciplinary studies between planners and designers and social and behavioural scientists are critical when designing the built environment. Start with the basic holistic need of the individual in his or her daily routine in terms of space and time. Then extend that to the family and the immediate community. The physical planning and design must respond to these needs accordingly.”

See media article.