Dr Cheong Koon Hean
Chairman, Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore
Dr Cheong Koon Hean is currently the Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities under the Ministry of National Development, Singapore. She is also the Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee.
Dr Cheong has played a key role in the urban transformation of Singapore over the years. She was the CEO of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) from 2010 to 2020, overseeing the development and management of over 1 million public housing flats. At HDB, she introduced a new generation of public housing and implemented large scale sustainability, biophilic and smart features in HDB towns.
Dr Cheong was also the CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) from 2004 to 2010, in charge of strategic land use planning, conservation of built heritage and the real estate market. During her tenure, she uplifted planning and design standards and played a key role in the development of major growth areas, notably Marina Bay the new city extension. She was concurrently appointed the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of National Development for 16 years from 2001 to 2016.
An active participant in international affairs, Dr Cheong was a former Deputy President and current Council Member of the International Federation of Housing and Planning, a former global Board trustee of the Urban Land Institute and member of the World Economic Forum’s Real Estate and Urbanisation Council. She has also served on several international expert panels advising on governance, planning and sustainability, including the master planning of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City in China.
She is currently a board member of the National University of Singapore and on the NUS School of Design and Environment Advisory Committee, the NUS Engineering Faculty Advisory Board and the Singapore Sustainability Academy Advisory Board. Dr Cheong had previously served on the boards of the Jurong Town Corporation, National Heritage Board, Jurong Port and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
A Colombo Plan scholar, Dr Cheong holds a 1st Class Honours degree and University Gold Medal in Architecture and a Doctor of Architecture honoris causa conferred by the University of Newcastle; a Master’s degree in Urban Development Planning from University College London and has completed the Advanced Management Programme in Harvard Business School. She is also a Tan Swan Beng Endowed Professor in Nanyang Technological University, the Institute of Policy Studies’ 5th S R Nathan Fellow, Fellow (Life) of the Singapore Institute of Architects and Honorary Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Planners. Dr Cheong has been conferred multiple awards, notably the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding public service, the University of Newcastle’s Convocation Medal for Professional Excellence, the International Women Forum’s 2011 ‘Woman Who Make a Difference Award’, and inducted into the Singapore Council of Women Associations’ Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2016, she became the first Asian to be conferred the Urban Land Institute Prize for visionaries in urban development; and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Lynn S Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award. O