Panel of Speakers
Born and raised in tropical Singapore, Bjorn started his career as an online marketing specialist at the then BLUE Interactive, having completed his MBA prior to that. His stint in advertising brought him to London, where he worked on the global Debeers account as an Associate Business Director. It was during a particularly harsh winter that he realised something was missing in his life, and that working in the corporate sector was not something he wanted to continue doing. Bjorn quit his job, and for the next 3 years, travelled and worked on organic farms across Europe.
Having obtained a diploma in Biodynamic Agriculture in East Sussex, Bjorn returned back to Singapore with the dream of combining his knowledge of farming and his business training. In 2012, Edible Gardens LLP was started with the hopes of building urban farms to help Singapore tackle its food security challenges. Today, Edible Garden City Pte Ltd employs a team of 22 staff members and is carving out its own niche in a new industry sector in Singapore, having built more than 50 food gardens for hotels, schools, F&B outlets, property developers and home gardens. As a social enterprise we currently hire 6 adults with disabilities as part of our work team with a goal of hiring up to 20 in the next 2 years.
We believe in educational initiatives to the general public, and to the youths, which we do so through public talks and workshops to educational institutions. In the span of 5 years, EGC has contributed to the growing discussions of urban farming and food security in Singapore, and raised awareness of the movement and of food issues to the younger generation. Edible Garden City is looking to expanding its operations in 2017 with a new socially motivated urban farm model called “Citizen Farm” and move into commercial - scale herbs and vegetable production on rooftops and indoor spaces in Singapore, seeking to blaze the trail to see Singapore as an Edible Garden City.
Chiara Catalano received her PhD in Technologies for Sustainability and Land Restoration from the University of Palermo in 2017 while working at the Zurich University of Applied Science within the Urban Ecology research group.
Her interest lies in near-natural and biodiverse green roof design and implementation as well as their role in the greater green infrastructure.
Her MSc in Architecture and a Master of Second Level in Eco-engineering and Land Restoration allowed her to combine both ecological research and design principles with "Multidisciplinary thinking" becoming her daily mantra in the last years.
Interested to learn different viewpoints, Chiara has professional experience in Catania, London, Palermo, Zurich, Hannover and Ceske Budejovice where she could alternate professional work, further education and research activity.
Chiara finds inspiration in the capability of plants to build dynamic communities while at the same time able to characterise and reveal specific environmental conditions. Plants cannot move but they give us lessons of perfection and slow adaptation. Plants cannot speak, but we can observe and study them, to plan greener, sustainable and liveable cities.
Dr. Chong Fook Loong is HDB’s Group Director (Research & Planning). He leads and manages the Research & Planning Group to provide directions in terms of strategic research and planning, comprehensive town planning and urban design. Dr. Chong joined HDB in 1990 as an Architect with a B. Arch (Honours) from NUS, and attained his Ph.D in Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK in 1997, as an HDB Scholar. In 2006, he restructured the master plan for Punggol with the planning and urban design of the Punggol Waterway and in Sep 2016, the master plan for Tengah town was launched as Singapore’s brand new town.
Dr. Ervine Lin is currently a researcher at the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology at the National Parks Board. He completed his doctoral studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich after obtaining his Master of Landscape Architecture with the National University of Singapore. His research interests revolves around the use of new technologies to collect 3D geospatial data which enable designers and planners to work across disciplines to visualise and more importantly predict the impacts of large scale interventions to the landscape. Prior to his return to academia, Ervine was a full time photographer with a passion for travel and landscape photography.
Dr. Falk is Assistant Professor at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. He holds a joint appointment at the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Falk qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Cologne, Germany and subsequently worked clinically in General Medicine and Cardiology at the Royal London Hospital and Oxford Radcliffe University Hospitals, United Kingdom. He completed a doctorate degree at the University of Cologne and a Masters degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Falk’s work focusses on Health Services Research and the prevention of non-communicable diseases, with a particular emphasis on physical activity research.
Dr. Rezai-Jorabi was awarded a Ph.D. in 1985 for his work on reinforced and prestressed concrete structures. He further pursued his research interest on a post-doctorate research programme before joining the industry in January 1987.
He has been a visiting lecturer to the University of Westminster, London where he also supervised a PH.D. project at the school of Architecture and Engineering. He currently assists on a part-time basis at the School of Architecture of the National University of Singapore. He is currently engaged in collaborative research and de- velopment projects with the National University of Singapore and with Politecnico Di Milano in Italy.
His research work has generated a number of technical papers in various national and international publications including the Structural Engineer (UK), the U.S Concrete Institute Journal and the Journal of the Singapore Institute of Architects. Dr Rezai-Jorabi is an Associate Member of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, and has offered expert witness advise to various insurance companies, loss adjusters, and to law firms in the UK, Europe and South East Asia. He also served as an official Nominator for Aga Khan Award for Architecture since 2013, and is currently a member of the Master Jury in the current cycle of AKAA, the first Singapore profes- sional ever to be invited to serve on the Master Jury.
He founded Web Structures in August 1996 in pursuit of his passion for applied engineering design, and has since been involved in the design and realisation of some of the most impressive structures in over 26 countries, from the tallest build- ings to bespoke resorts and special structures worldwide. He is very passionate about the design process, and a holistic approach to architecture and structure.
Hossein is proud to be one of the initiators of the concept of “fusion engineering”, helping to reconcile the seemingly contradictory agendas of “good design” and “cost efficiency”.
He is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars and has published a number of technical papers in journals internationally.
Dr. Rezai is the first and only engineer to receive the coveted title of “Designer of the Year” from the President of Singapore in 2016 under the President’s Design Award.
A/Prof. Roger Ho is an Associate Professor (with Tenure) at the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore and a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital. He is the Education Director coordinating teaching, resident training and research for undergraduate and postgraduate students. He promotes the highest standard in psychiatric service, teaching and research, both in Singapore and internationally.
A/Prof. Ho is involved in multiple research endeavours which primarily aim to study the interface between psychiatry and medicine. His earlier research involves elucidating psychiatric symptoms associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. His recent research extended to study of effects of antidepressants on the immune system in animal studies, the application of technology in clinical services and research, including mobile/electronic health and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) while continuing publications related to his earlier research interests. He is author or co-author of more than 130 articles published in peer reviewed journals and 6 books published by prestigious publishers including Hodder Arnold (UK) and Taylor and Francis (US).
A/Prof. Ho is extensively involved in medical education. He disseminated psychiatric knowledge through publications of academic books with global influence. The most recent example is the co-authorship and publication of a postgraduate textbook, Revision Notes in Psychiatry (3rd edition), CRC Press 2013 and this book has been one of the most commonly used reference texts since 1998 by psychiatric trainees in Commonwealth countries. He has received several teaching awards from the National University of Singapore and was awarded the Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) in 2011/ Annual Outstanding Tutor Award (2011 – 2016).
A/Prof. Ho is a member of Research Ethics committees of the National Healthcare Group (Singapore) and grant reviewer in Canada and Singapore. Internationally, he is a member of the editorial boards of BJPsych Advances (Previously known as Advances in Psychiatry Treatment), a journal published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK), Asia Pacific Journal of Psychiatry, a journal published by Wiley and official journal of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatry, Rheumatology Practice and Research, a journal published by SAGE. He is the Associate Editor of Global Journal of Health Science, a journal published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education.
A/Prof. Ho completed his medical degree (MBBS) and higher research degree (MD) at University of Hong Kong. He received his basic and advanced Psychiatry training at National University of Singapore. He a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (U.K.) and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Canada) and Academy of Medicine (Singapore).
Jonathan Woodroffe graduated from the Portsmouth University’s School of Architecture in 1989 where he received his degree and diploma. After working for two of Europe’s leading practices - Wilkson Eyre in London and Neutelings Riedijk in Rotterdam - he co-founded S333 Architecture + Urbanism in Amsterdam in 1997.
S333’s first realised project - a high density, mixed use residential scheme in Groningen - won numerous awards for its design approach that combined diverse functions, activities and landscapes to regenerate a former industrial site in the heart of the city. Since then, S333 has built an international reputation for delivering innovative masterplans and regeneration projects across Europe and the South-East Asia that explore how urban and landscape intensification can stimulate the creation of new building typologies fit for today’s cities.
For Jonathan, urban and landscape intensification is not only a necessity dictated by environmental factors, it is an opportunity for generating enhanced levels of urbanity and added value. Jonathan has taught at the Architectural Association in London and at the Academies van Bouwkunst in Tilburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. He is currently leading a master programme at the Bergen Architecture School, is a visiting Professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris Val-de-Seine, and he is a Board member of Europan NL.
Katharina is an industry recognised leader in landscape architecture who has been responsible for significant projects as designer and project leader in Australia and internationally. Katharina leads the landscape studio which has a demonstrated capability of taking on large and complex projects. Katharina’s work reveals her commitment to social responsibility and the prominence of human and planetary health. She has a passion for Biophilic Urbanism, the development of nature related design and pedestrian/people oriented public realm. She has extensive experience in collaborating in large multi-disciplinary teams to deliver client objectives with a view of satisfying social responsibility. Her award winning research collaborations involving industry and academia have been published and presented nationally and internationally.
Trained in both architecture and landscape architecture, Huei Lyn graduated from the University of Miami (Bachelor of Architecture) and Harvard University (Master in Landscape Architecture). Her interests are geared towards urban planning and open space design. While based in the United States, she worked on a diverse range of projects; masterplanning to detailed design and construction implementation in North America, China and the Middle East. Since moving back to Singapore she has been instrumental in completing several public projects that have a holistic approach towards landscape architecture and stormwater management. Currently she is part of the ABC Waters masterplanning and implementation team at PUB, working on creating sustainable, blue-green public spaces for Singapore.
An educator for 20 years, and currently School Staff Developer of Spectra Secondary School, Mrs Lyvenne Chong is a recipient of The President’s Award for Teachers 2016. Raised in a village with numerous commercial vegetable farms in the 60s, Lyvenne knows the importance of hard work and resilience to achieve success in life. She conceptualized the research-based Garden-based Service Learning (GBSL) curriculum to motivate and engage her students, while cultivating the school values of respect, responsibility and resilience. She leads and inspires a community of urban farming enthusiasts in sustaining her school’s rooftop Edible Learning Garden for teaching and learning of GBSL.
Matt is an accomplished landscape architect and urban designer who has delivered a number of award winning public realm and landscape projects across Australia. He is driven by a passion to realise project outcomes that deliver exceptional places.
During his career Matt has been a part of some Australia’s best small and large scale design studios and working on a number of diverse and significant projects including the Darling Harbour/ICC Sydney precinct, Burnley Living Roofs - Melbourne, Medibank Place, Rosebud Foreshore playspace and the soon to be completed Pt Leo sculpture park, siting one of the largest private, modern art collections.
Now Studio Director at one of Australia’s leading landscape architecture studios, ASPECT Studios Melbourne, Matt continues to be passionate about the sustainable development of our cities and the places that reside within them. Focusing of the role that green infrastructure and living architecture can play in the design of place making. Bringing benefits to the public spaces of our cities and the people who use them.
Nelson Li is the Chairman of Treegarden Corporation who completed many landmark green balcony and greenroof projects in Taiwan. Nelson formed and presided Taiwan Green Roof Association as well as Taiwan Arboriculture Society and pushed the enact of Tree Protection Act in Taiwan. He also wrote the "Greenroof Technical Guide" and "Greenwall Technical Guide" for Taiwanese government as the industry guidelines. In addition, he published "I love Greenroof", "Gardens in the sky", and translated books from ISA into Chinese: "Certified Arborists Study Guide" and "Tree Climbers Guide" to be used as the study guide for ISA certified arborists and climbers Exam.
Mr. Poh Choon Hock is a researcher at the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) under the National Parks Board. His current focus is on skyrise greenery implementation and has shared at various workshops, courses and forums. Choon Hock has published several articles on skyrise greenery, such as “Safe design of skyrise greenery in Singapore” which was jointly authored with Dr Michael Behm and published in the magazine Smart and Sustainable Built Environment in 2012. Other focuses include the formulation of the CUGE Standards (under the Skyrise Greenery series) – a set of published technical and design guidelines for adoption in the landscape, horticulture and architecture industry. Trained as an architect, Choon Hock has a deep interest in the built environment, particularly in the aspects of greenery-system and building-design integration, and optimisation.
Sherman Stave is a landscape architect with more than 30 years of experience. He has practised extensively in Asia and North America.
Sherman was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Canada. His exposure to diverse cultures from an early age has lent him broad global perspective, and a deep appreciation of how shaping our environments can change our lives in fundamental ways. These are critical lenses that continue to inform his design approach.
He places special emphasis on environmentally sustainable and pragmatic design solutions. His design expression is inspired by the works of artists, the organic forms of nature, as well as the landscape features surrounding a project; it is design mindful of purpose and sensitive of context that give projects a distinct identity and character.
Sherman's innovative and award-winning landscapes can be seen at resorts and hotels, parks and private condominiums, universities, mixed-use and commercial developments. As principal at STX, Sherman plays a critical role in the design and management of projects. His meticulous attention to all stages of a project underpins the smooth execution of his designs.
Shoji Kaneko is an associate and senior urban designer / landscape architect at Nikken Sekkei with 13 years of international and interdisciplinary experience leading urbanism and landscape design projects across Japan and overseas. Being client focused and understanding each project’s unique physical and cultural settings, he is known for delivering integrated design solutions turning complex functional requirements into refined landscape that support healthy and active public life. Prior to joining Nikken, Shoji studied in the US and worked at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for 7 years. His work can be found in such projects as Kashiwa-no-ha Innovation Campus (Japan), the Rail Corridor Master Plan in Singapore, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, and Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge at the University of Washington (both in Seattle).
Sim Choon Heok has been associated with WOHA for the past 16 years. Choon Heok first joined WOHA as an Architectural Designer in 2000 before being promoted to an Associate in 2004. A Senior Associate at present, she completed her Bachelor of Architecture in 1997 at the National University of Singapore. Choon Heok's portfolio with WOHA encompasses design and project management of a number of seminal works in Singapore. She is currently running a few large residential developments in India, a mixed-use commercial development in Shenzhen, China and the upcoming BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Ms Tay Yi Wen is an experienced Planner at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the land use planning authority of Singapore.
She played a key role in implementing URA’s Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (LUSH) 2.0, which was awarded the Best Practice Award (Regulation) for the PS21 Excellence in Public Service Awards 2015. The policy encouraged widespread adoption of more innovative approaches to greening the built environment. She has also championed reviews to encourage more urban farming initiatives in Singapore. She currently helms the biodiversity portfolio in URA and does long-term planning to maintain our ecological environment. Prior to her current portfolio, she facilitated the grant of approvals for development proposals and worked with Developers and building professionals under the regulatory functions of URA.
Vanessa Kwiatkowski and Mat Lumalasi are the founders of a unique project that aims to bring bees back to our cities. Concerned by a growing sense of disconnect between food production and consumption and inspired by hundred year old practices in Europe, Vanessa and Mat have created something uniquely Melbourne in their project ‘Melbourne City Rooftop Honey’. Yet while their project is inherently local their message has a much broader reach. What they do not only seeks to address issues of sustainability, it also aims to raise awareness of the importance of bees and the various threats they face.
Their harvest of honey is a great emblem for high quality local produce but Melbourne City Rooftop Honey also operates as a social enterprise that helps to grow communities; reinforcing local identities rooted in values of respectful relationships, social and environmental responsibility and ethical food production.
Mat and Vanessa have cultivated a significant social media presence and regularly give talks about their work to diverse audiences. Their approach has been recognised for its innovation and has overlapped with areas such as permaculture and biodynamics but also with applied projects in biosecurity and design. They have given numerous interviews in various formats and their project has appeared in domestic media as well as internationally as far afield as Japan, Singapore, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.
By placing hives on the roof spaces of cafés, restaurants, hotels and individual’s gardens in and around Melbourne Vanessa and Mat have reduced the distance from production to plate to mere metres. Their work has inspired many to think about the broader environmental implications of their actions and choices but it also shows us that we are part of an elaborate ecosystems and in the end we depend on bees more than they depend on us.
Mr Veerasekaran graduated from NUS in 1987 with a BSc Degree in Botany. Immediately after graduation, Mr Veera worked at the oldest orchid garden, Mandai Orchid Garden in Singapore, before shifting to the Republic of Seychelles. His green career route led him to many other parts of the world including Pakistan, Morocco, Seychelles, Africa, Vietnam, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. Locally, he served as a key figure in many cornerstone landscaping projects. Some of these roles include the Assistant Curator of Horticulture at the Zoo and Night Safari, the Curator of Horticulture at Changi Airport, as well as an Assistant Director at the National Parks Board (NParks). His pursuit of his passion for urban greening led to the birth of Greenology 9 years ago, through which Veera pioneered his own sustainable vertical greening system. This was more recently followed by the founding of VertiVegies in 2017 as Greenology’s subsidiary, to spearhead his work on urban agriculture and climate-controlled farming systems.
Mr Wan Khin Wai has served in the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) as an Architect, Planner and Urban Designer before moving to HDB. He is currently the Director for Architectural Design and Material Research in HDB’s Building & Research Institute (BRI), where he leads the multi-disciplinary in-house design teams. His design practice spans a total of 21 years in various capacities and is very passionate about forging a symbiotic relationship between Architecture and Landscape (A+L) as part of the effort to create highly liveable and sustainable developments. His department’s recent works manifested the importance of “holistic biophilic-centric” design approach in site planning, architecture, landscape and adaption of planting technologies in high density public housing environments.