Three Cities, Multiple Perspectives: A Comparative Study of Participatory Practices in Singapore, New York City and Copenhagen

Supported by the Philip Yeo Initiative.

 As architecture designers who champion public participation, our concern is primarily with the built environment and the roles that everyday people play towards shaping it. We do recognise, however, that a participatory approach has many implications for much broader areas of governance, from the management of public finances, to the development of population policies. It is with these considerations that we embarked on a journey of discovering what alternative models, methods and tools are available in the world today, asking:

  1. What does participation mean for Singapore? What constitutes meaningful engagement in our local context?

  2. What alternative models, methods and tools for participation are available around the world? What can we learn from their successes and failures, and how might we adapt some of the better practices for our own sociocultural and political climate?

  3. What do people in Singapore really think about participation? What attitudes and perceptions do they hold, and what motivates or hinders them from participating more actively?

Our vision for a betterSG starts with the very neighbourhoods we live in. We hope to bring people together to design, build and own spaces and solutions within their neighbourhoods, and enable communities to discover their fullest potential through the people they have. 

View project website at

To view BetterSG website design and interactive survey

Purchase our Publication, "Designing with People and not just for People" here.