Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash


Parks, Piazzas & Pandemics: Promoting Safe Access to Public Places with Data Analytics

Thursday September 17, 3.00 - 4.30pm CET
Series 5 (September) - Webinar 3

This webinar is part of the initiative '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'.
>>> Read the summary of this webinar

This webinar has been organised in partnership with the Centre for Liveable Cities based in Singapore.
Set up in 2008 by the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC)’s mission is to distil, create and share knowledge on liveable and sustainable cities. CLC’s work spans four main areas—Research, Capability Development, Knowledge Platforms and Advisory. Through these activities, CLC hopes to provide urban leaders and practitioners with the knowledge and support needed to make our cities better.


During the coronavirus pandemic, many governments have ordered their populations to shelter in place and reduce outside activities. However, basic human needs such as buying groceries and engaging in physical exercise still require visits to parks, supermarkets, and malls. To promote safe access to these places, a number of entities are monitoring crowd size, analyzing mobility data, and sharing real-time information on online platforms to empower the public to make healthier choices. COVID-19 has also provided an unprecedented opportunity to gather new data and analyze differences in how populations traverse and occupy public spaces before and after the pandemic, revealing important insights about public life in cities. With these lessons in hand, designers have begun questioning the planning of neighborhoods and streetscapes, and pondering social patterns in cities. This online session brings together practitioners from government and academia to discuss how data and analytics can be used to support pandemic response, and will continue to play a role in making future cities safe, enjoyable, and resilient.


Event Managers

Ying Fen Chen & Stephanie Cheung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Luisa Bravo, City Space Architecture & The Journal of Public Space, Italy

Hendrik Tieben, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, Hong Kong

Co-Host and Moderator

Kevin Fan HsuCentre for Liveable Cities, Singapore



Zhongwen Huang, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Digital Planning Lab, Singapore

Chong Lee Tan, National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore

Damiano Cerrone, Demos Helsinki, Finland

Jo-Ting Huang-Lachmann, Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), INNOVA project, Germany



David Grahame Shane, Columbia University GSAPP (Graduate School of Arch, Planning and Preservation), United States


Round Table Discussion, moderated by Kevin Fan Hsu

Q&A with the audience, moderated by Ying Fen Chen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong



Kevin Fan Hsu leads the Environmental Research Cluster at the Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore, focusing on sustainable urban development, de-carbonization strategies, and climate resilience. As a research fellow at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, he supports URA’s efforts to utilize digital technologies to enhance urban planning and heritage conservation. Kevin has taught courses in Urban Studies and International Policy Studies at Stanford University, where he co-founded the Human Cities Initiative, and continues to teach design thinking courses at the He was previously based in Shanghai, China as an urban scientist with The Walt Disney Company. Kevin holds degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Earth Systems and International Relations, all from Stanford, and also received training in Cultural Heritage Management from Johns Hopkins University. He enjoys working with students and collaborators in Hong Kong on an annual public space design boot camp, initiated in 2017.

Zhongwen Huang heads URA’s Digital Planning Lab (DPLab). In this role, he leads an interdisciplinary team to spearhead URA’s efforts in catalysing the digitalisation of urban planning, incubate digital competencies, as well as foster innovations and partnerships. His work includes developing digital tools (e.g. e-Planner, a one-stop geospatial planning tool) and harnessing data science methods, to enable a more data-informed and integrated way of planning across agencies. Vocational analytics training for planners as well as cross-agency collaborations and Industry partnerships to strengthen the way URA plans, is also a big part of his work. 
Zhongwen is a geographer by training from the London School of Economics, with a background in science and math, and passion for cities and technology. In his previous career as a naval officer, he worked on acquiring new capabilities as well as transforming operations with technology. Joining URA in 2012, he was previously involved in the long-term plans and policies for transport, utilities and underground space. He pioneered efforts to build up URA’s Futures capabilities for planning, and, as well as Ops-Tech capabilities for urban planning, including the development of digital scenario planning tools and the use of planning analytics.

Chong Lee Tan is currently Assistant Chief Executive Officer at the National Parks Board (NParks). He leads the Corporate Development & Services Cluster overseeing corporate strategy and planning, communications and community engagement, finance and procurement, as well as corporate services.
A strong advocate of using GIS for management of green spaces and biodiversity, and nature conservation, Chong Lee drives innovation and technology adoption for NParks. He has played an instrumental role in building Maven, a GIS proliferation programme for NParks. Chong Lee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Cambridge, as well as a Master’s in Social Science from the University of Haifa.

Damiano Cerrone is a consultant at Demos Helsinki, an independent think tank aiming to build sustainable and fair post-industrial societies; he develops studies and solutions to energise public and private enterprises dealing with the complexity of planning. His practice focuses on impact research and strategies for urban management and design, both in the public and private sector. In academic research, he leverages digital footprints to study new solutions to retrofitting inner cities to contemporary life. Damiano is also the co-founder at SPIN Unit, and he’s affiliated with Terreform Center for Advanced Urban Analysis, the Spatial Ethnography Lab and Tampere University.

Jo-Ting Huang-Lachmann works for the INNOVA project at the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS). Her research focuses on economics of climate change adaptation in cities. She has published her research outcomes in international peer-reviewed journals like Cities and Ecological Economics. She has an interdisciplinary background of environmental management and climate adaptation in cities and has practical experience working with city governments. Her research area includes stakeholder engagement, climate adaptation, institutional economics and co-benefits of cities’ climate and sustainability strategies. Jo-Ting looks forward to applying her expertise in climate services.  Being active in international science communities, she acts as the development team member of the the Knowledge Action Network for Emergent Risk and Extreme Events (Risk KAN), a joint effort of Future Earth, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) and World Climate Research Programme (WCRP); as well as the Executive Committee member of Young Earth System Scientists Community (YESS). Before joining GERICS, Jo-Ting had her Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Management from University of Twente, the Netherlands; and started her PhD study at the Chair of Sustainability Management and Environmental Accounting at the Technische Universitaet Dresden, Germany.

David Grahame Shane is Adjunct Professor in the Urban Design program at Columbia GSAPP.He studied architecture at the Architectural Association, London, graduating in 1969 with his Dream City Thesis published in the AA125 Volume (1972). He continued with an M.Arch in Urban Design (1971) and then an Architectural and Urban History Ph.D. (1978) with Colin Rowe at Cornell University. Professor Rowe incorporated Shane’s Urban Patterns in London drawing into Collage City (1978). After Cornell Shane organized the First Year Unit 1 Urban Design studio for Alvin Boyarsky at the AA 1972-76 and then taught at Bennington College while completing his PhD., coming to Columbia in 1985. During this period he published widely in Architectural Design (London), Lotus International (Milan) and Artforum (NYC).
In 1990 he started teaching Urban Design studios and added UD seminars from 1991-97. He then switched to the Recombinant Urbanism Seminar in the Spring Semester 1998. During this period he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the Cooper Union, and at City College with Professor Michael Sorkin in the UD Program (2000-2005).
During the 90s Shane wrote about New York’s urban fragmentation, enclaves and heterotopias for many professional and international publications. He published his article the “Short History of Landscape Urbanism” in the Harvard Architectural Review in 2003. He published Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design and City Theory (2005) and co-edited with Brian McGrath the Architectural Design title Sensing the 21st Century City: Close-Up and Remote (2005). Urban Design Since 1945; a Global Perspective (2011). Since 1999 Shane has participated in the UD PhD program at the IUAV Venice with Professors Secchi and Vigano and is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Milan Polytechnic. In 1999 he gave the Yokohama Bi-Annual Urban Design Lecture and has lectured widely in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing. He has published in architectural journals in Europe, the USA and Asia. Recent examples include Block, Superblock and Megablock; A Short History (2014) online at Archiduecitta, Chinese Rapid Urbanization and the Megacity in Cities in Transition (NAi, 2015) and A Short History of Hong Kong Malls and Towers in Stefan Als (Ed.) Mall City (2016).




>>> Recorded video of the webinar

All our webinars are recorded and are available on the Youtube channel of our publisher City Space Architecture.
Watch this one and our future videos on City Space Architecture's Youtube playlist '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'