SUTD appoints ex-HDB CEO as new chairman of research centre for innovative cities

SINGAPORE – The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has appointed a new chairman for one of its research institutes.

Former Housing and Development Board (HDB) chief executive Dr Cheong Koon Hean, 63, will assume the position of chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities in June.

She will be taking over from Prof Chan Heng Chee, 78, who has led the centre since its establishment in 2012, said SUTD on Monday (Jan 26).

Prof Chan, who is also Ambassador-at-Large with the foreign ministry, will continue her research as a professor at the centre.

She is currently chairman of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, global co-chair of the Asia Society, and member of the board of trustees of the National University of Singapore.

SUTD president Chong Tow Chong thanked Prof Chan for leading the centre and for her significant contributions to developing the university’s human capital.

The university added that during Prof Chan’s tenure, the centre gained wide recognition for its research on cities, urbanisation, ageing and the built environment among other issues.

In 2018, Prof Chan also worked with the university’s Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences cluster to establish a new postgraduate programme, the Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning.

The programme combines data science research methods and computational techniques with urban theory.

Dr Cheong will assume chairmanship of the centre on June 15.

She stepped down as HDB chief executive on Jan 1 after spending 10 years with the housing board. Her legacy includes introducing a new generation of community-centric and smart public housing flats.

Prior to joining HDB, Dr Cheong was chief executive of the Urban Redevelopment Authority between 2004 and 2010.

Said Dr Cheong: “I am honoured to succeed Prof Chan and to build upon the good foundation laid by her. SUTD’s transdisciplinary approach is a strength that we can harness to advance innovative urban solutions for making better cities to improve the quality of life of their people.”

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