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2012 Prize Laureate: City of New York

Honouring Excellence in Cities and Water
2 July 2012 – At the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet held in the Sands Grand Ballroom, more than 800 guests gathered to honour the achievements of this year’s Prize Laureates. Guests were entertained by rousing performances from the Chinese Percussion Ensemble and a string and piano quintet from Singapore’s School of the Arts.

The 2nd Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, awarded every two years, was presented to Adrian Benepe, New York City’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, who accepted it on behalf
of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Departments of Transportation, City Planning, and Parks and Recreation. New York City was recognised for its achievements in sustainable development; in particular, its efforts to rejuvenate neglected public spaces through the creation of innovative
new parks such as the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Speaking via a recorded video address, Mr Bloomberg said, “It’s a tremendous honour for New York City to receive the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, and I thank the Nominating Committee for recognising our innovative work to transform underused infrastructure into vibrant public spaces.”
Mr Benepe added, “The city’s sustainable achievements are thanks to the efforts of many  agencies and we are so grateful to the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Selection Committee that
they have awarded this honour in recognition of our teamwork.”

Professor Mark van Loosdrecht of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands received the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2012 for his development of Anammox, an innovative biological
process to remove pollutants from used water. The process uses bacteria to convert the pollutant ammonia into harmless nitrogen in what is essentially a short-cut of the natural nitrogen cycle. This short-cut means that less energy is required to complete the cycle, offering water utilities a cost effective, low-energy and sustainable means to treat waste water.

Sporting a red jacket to match the colour of the Anammox bacteria, Prof van Loosdrecht
thanked the many people who have supported him in his work. He noted that he is the second Dutch person in five years to win the Water Prize and credited this to the way that wastewater research is approached by Stowa, which represents the country’s various water boards.

Both Laureates were presented with a specially designed gold medallion, an award certificate and a cash prize of S$300,000 each. The World City Prize is fully sponsored by Keppel Corporation.

Parts of this article were adapted from Solutions Issue 3 July 2012, a World Cities Summit Show Daily. Read the full issue here.