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URA – Learning From Three Top Cities

While based in London, Grace Ng also spent time in New York City and Amsterdam to learn more about Urban Planning.

I am currently in my third year ­studying Urban Planning, Design and ­Management at The Bartlett, University College London. My course has been ­greatly ­enriching, as it offers a wide range of ­subjects from real estate economics to ­anthropological architecture, giving me both breadth and depth. It lays a strong foundation for the exciting, inter-disciplinary work of an urban planner dealing with infrastructural, transportation and ­socio-cultural challenges.

London is one of the world’s best places to study urban planning as an academic discipline. In a hub where eminent academics congregate, it has been an unforgettable privilege to attend lectures by respected pioneers such as Sir Peter Hall and Professor Michael Batty, who provide great exposition to cutting-edge research and innovative theories.

I took up the URA Scholarship ­because I am keen to be involved in shaping ­Singapore’s dynamic environment. ­Urban design represents a meaningful way of bridging the gap between form and ­function. The URA Scholarship allows me to pursue my passion in a niche field and has given me many opportunities to learn.

I also spent six months studying in ­Amsterdam where I represented my ­faculty in the ERASMUS Programme (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students). During that period, I gained a ­thorough ­understanding of the Dutch’s urban ­strategies and implementation. What I ­enjoyed most was their cycling culture, which ­contributed to the capital’s unique quaint charm and is a success story that Singapore can definitely learn from.

During my summer break, I enrolled in a summer intensive course in New York City to learn Architecture. This allowed me to hone my kinesthetic skills with tasks such as conceptual pitching, observational drawings and model building. Such ­emphasis on the aesthetics was supplemented by a focus on architectural history to provide a more comprehensive coverage of the discipline. In addition, the small student-to-teacher ratio facilitated effective learning.

These experiences have also undoubtedly broadened my horizons as a global citizen and encouraged me to learn actively and take charge of my own education.

I believe that there is no better way to learn about urbanity and the environment than to engage with it, and am fortunate to have received the support from URA to do so. My studies abroad have offered me unparalleled opportunities to participate in social and cultural interaction as well as develop soft skills that simply cannot be learnt from textbooks. I am looking forward to becoming a part of this inspired community that is committed to building a ­Singapore that we can all be proud of!

Grace Ng
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Scholarship
Age: 21
Now: Third Year doing Urban Planning, Design and Management at University College Lodon (UCL)
From: Hwa Chong JC