Ling Tan – Why Participate?

Ling Tan

Kakilang, Umbrellium

From The Conference August 31, 2023

“Work with people who disagree with you and with each other and still work together. This is where participation can begin.“

“Reflection to time and place is important to make people participate.”

How do we get people to participate in creating the cities that they want? And once we do, how do we get them to act towards a common goal? These are some of the questions that Ling Tan works with on a daily basis and addressed in her talk. 


In order to create collective action, meaning getting people working towards one common goal, it’s crucial that you are sensitive to what participants will actually get from providing their time. Will their community gain any benefits? If so, which ones? Another key aspect is having participants feel agency and ownership over the issue that they are trying to overcome, and then being a part of the solution. They want to be able to see and understand what results their efforts are yielding, and for that to happen they need to understand the problem. Ling pointed out that there needs to be more sensitivity to what kind of communities we are including and how. For example the climate movement in the UK is not really focusing on addressing different cultures present in the country. In the talk we see an example how the climate conversation can be shifted to by showing the example of the project Low Carbon Chinatown.

To succeed in understanding how people in cities can contribute to creating the future Wise Cities, you need to embrace messiness. Go outside of your comfort zone, and meet people that are different from you, agree to disagree, and work with them anyway. This will broaden your understanding of not only the people who inhabit the city, but the issues that they are interested in solving.


Length 12:46
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Theme 2023
Tagged with 2023 city wise cities