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The Prize Lecture is one of the key highlights at the World Cities Summit 2012. Delivered by the Laureate, it is a platform that celebrates the Laureate’s achievements in the creation of liveable, vibrant, and sustainable urban communities with a high quality of life.

“Government plays an important role, but it’s the people who will ensure this initiative continues after this mayor and this administration leave office.”
  – Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Adrian Benepe, on PlaNYC

Transforming New York City

The biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was awarded to New York City in 2012 for its remarkable transformation over the past decade. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city’s Departments of Transportation, City Planning, and Parks and Recreation were recognised for their outstanding contribution towards making New York a vibrant, liveable and sustainable city.
At his acceptance speech in March 2012 in Singapore, Mayor Bloomberg said, “Receiving the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is not only a great honour, it is an affirmation of our vision for New York as a global leader of sustainable development and innovative public spaces.”

During the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Lecture, Adrian Benepe, New York City’s
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, detailed how this vision is embodied in PlaNYC, New York’s sustainability agenda. “As an action oriented agenda, it addresses the city and its potential and includes solutions for improving our air quality, upgrading our energy infrastructure, reducing water pollution, cleaning up contaminated land and creating more affordable and sustainable housing.”

Amongst PlaNYC’s goals are the planting of one million new trees, making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and ensuring that every resident lives no more than a 10-minute walk from a park. Progress has been encouraging, with 600,000 trees planted and the development of
over 400 kilometres of new bike lanes.

New parks, including the High Line, developed on a 1.5 kilometre-long unused elevated railway track, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, are transforming New York’s public spaces. Based on sustainable design principles, these parks are rejuvenating once abandoned waterfront areas and making use of innovative technologies and recycled materials.

Mr Benepe stressed that PlaNYC was developed in a very public process, and that this is part of its strength and durability. He noted, “We have many big problems to solve. Government plays an important role, but it’s the people who will ensure this initiative continues after this mayor and this
administration leave office.”

This article was adapted from Solutions Issue 3 July 2012, a World Cities Summit Show Daily. Writer: Steinar Cramer. Read the full issue here.


Building a Greener and Greater New York City for the 21st Century (Presentation slides)


Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation


Award Ceremony & Banquet 2012

Prize Forum 2012

2012 Prize Laureate: City of New York