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Talks and lectures

Singapore Heritage Festival 2021 - Sharing session on the spaces of food

In collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the RIBA Singapore Chapter is delighted to be hosting a sharing session on the topic of the spaces of food as part of the Singapore Heritage Festival.

Food is an integral part of our culture. Mealtimes involve more than just the cursory act of eating. They bring people together in a shared ritual - where the sociable sharing of meals is as much about the human interactions that affirm our mutual connectedness, as it is about the culinary delight of taste and smell. Food brings us together in powerful ways that create bonds, community, and memories. This explains why in every city, the urban spaces that surround food - streetscapes or esplanades with lively restaurants and street stands, bustling market halls, or in Singapore's context, our ubiquitous hawker centres - are the very spaces where public life thrives. Food has a way of pulling people together into an urban geniality, livening up the public spaces that we inhabit to affirm our sense of belonging.

At a city scale, the spaces for producing, storing, and distributing food offer another perspective to understand the city - where food is part of an infrastructural flow and network, with strategic implications for a city. The current technological re-imagining of how our food is produced, distributed, and consumed will be consequential to our cities' future.

This digital discussion panel aims to uncover the intricate links between food and our urban environment from varied perspectives and viewpoints to be showcased to an international audience while hosting a live open Q&A session with the audience.


Dr Lai Chee Kien
Vice-President of the Society of Architectural and Urban Historians of Asia, Advisory Council Member of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments.

Lai Chee Kien is an architectural and urban historian and a registered architect in Singapore. He is currently researching co-operative housing as an NLB Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow. He researches on histories of art, architecture, settlements, urbanism, and landscapes in Southeast Asia.

Jason Wong
Co-Founder and Director of Sales at NETATECH Engineering PTE. Ltd.

Jason, officially trained by Netafim, the world's inventor of drip irrigation, is among the pioneers in revolutionising Singapore's sky-rise greenery. His strength lies in adapting and implementing precision irrigation and fertigation for green roof and green wall systems. Jason also expanded his portfolio to include rainwater harvesting and treatment and food production in urban environments to complement and integrate his expertise in water technologies.

Kenneth Ho
Senior Vice President, Senior Design Principal at The Jerde Partnership.

Kenneth is the current Senior Vice President and Senior Design Principal at The Jerde Partnership. He has a passion for designing atypical community places and believes in finding creative ways to curate urban spaces.

This event is hosted by the RIBA Singapore Chapter in collaboration with URA.