Keynote Speakers

Randolph T. Hester, Professor Emeritus, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley

Randolph T. Hester is a founder of the Participatory Design Movement in landscape architecture. He has created internationally acclaimed democratic landscapes in places as diverse as Raleigh and Manteo, North Carolina, Los Angeles, California, and Tainan and Chiayi Counties, Taiwan. He mobilizes grassroots efforts to collectively create places of cultural and biological diversity. His capacity to adopt hopeless causes, address environmental injustices and overcome seemingly insurmountable political obstacles through socio-ecological thinking and strategy is legendary. His first books, Neighborhood Space (1975), Community Goal Setting (1982) and Community Design Primer (1990) provide now classic participatory design techniques. Design for Ecological Democracy (2006) describes a visionary yet achievable future based on enabling, resilient and impelling form. Hester is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Center for Ecological Democracy in Durham, North Carolina.

John Liu, Chairman, Building and Planning Research Foundation, National Taiwan University

John K.C. Liu is the Chairman of Building and Planning Research Foundation at the National Taiwan University. He is a founding member of the Pacific Rim Community Design Network. Liu studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cooper Union, and University of Washington, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include ecological design and planning, methods and theories of participatory design, and heritage conservation. Liu taught and researched at the National Taiwan University, Tsinghua University, University of California, Berkeley, Chung Yuan Christian University, and Pennsylvania State University. Liu received numerous awards, including Taipei Culture Award, Taiwan Architects Association Award, Asian American Architects and Engineers Association Award, State of California Affordable Housing Award, and Progressive Architecture Award. He was the Ong Siew May Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore from 2016 to 2017, and a scholar-in-residence at the National Science Foundation, USA.

Akiko Okabe, Professor, Department of Socio-cultural Environmental Studies, University of Tokyo

Akiko Okabe is an architect and Professor in environmental studies, architecture and urban policy at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, she practiced as an architect at Arata Isozaki & Associates in Barcelona, and in partnership with Masato Hori at Hori and Okabe. Okabe began teaching at Chiba University in 2004. Her books include Further Concentration in Megacities (2017; co-authored), Barcelona: a Mediterranean City (2010), Sustainable Cities: Regional and Environmental Strategies at the European Level (2003), Sustainable Community under Depopulation (2012; co-authored) and Toward an Urban Renaissance: Cities as Common Social Capital (2003; co-authored). Okabe’s work on urban upgrading via stakeholder participation in Jakarta received the Regional Holcim Award 2014 and Architectural Institute of Japan’s Architectural Education Award 2017.

Special Guests:

Bryan Bell, Executive Director / Co-Founder / Associate Professor, Design Corps / SEED Network / Department of Architecture, NC State University

Bryan Bell founded the nonprofit organization Design Corps in 1991 with the mission to provide the benefits of design for the 98 percent without architects. His current work includes research on the field of public interest design and the SEED Network, which Bell cofounded. His work has been supported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize and through a Harvard Loeb Fellowship. Bell has published three books in the field, and he organizes the Public Interest Design Institute and the Structures for Inclusion conference series. He was awarded a National AIA Award and was a National Design Award finalist. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the Smithsonian National Design Museum. Bell holds degrees from Princeton and Yale and is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University.

Sergio Palleroni, Director / Professor, Center for Public Interest Design / School of Architecture, Portland State University

Sergio Palleroni is a Professor and Director of the new Center for Public Interest Design at Portland State University (, and previously a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and the University of Washington for two decades, where he founded the Basic Initiative (, a multidisciplinary fieldwork program which each year challenges students from US and abroad to apply their education in service of the problems facing marginalized communities throughout the world. He has worked on sustainable architecture and community design in the developing world since the 1980's both for not-for-profit agencies and governmental and international agencies such as UNESCO, World Bank, and among others the governments of Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, China, Taiwan, India, Kenya, Tunisia and Western Sahara. This work has received international recognition and is currently focused on investigating public interest design practices, and networking these practices into a global knowledge network.

Local Speakers:

Seah Chee Huang, Director, DP Architects (DPA)

Seah Chee Huang is a firm believer that the power of architecture and design, can shape minds, touch hearts and inspire lives. He is one of the key drivers of DPA’s design, research and innovation. As the president of the Singapore Institute of Architects and board member of Board of Architects Singapore, Chee Huang advocates quality and sustainable architectural profession. He partakes in the larger discourse of the built environment in numerous design advisory panels and committees for various agencies and institutions. Chee Huang is also recognised as one of the emerging architects in URA’s latest edition of 20 under 45. His notable projects include Singapore Sports Hub, Our Tampines Hub, Bukit Canberra in Sembawang and Punggol Regional Sports Centre, all people-centric, fully integrated community and sports hubs in Singapore. In addition, Chee Huang champions numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives such as Project Bus Stop, which re-imagines bus stops as meaningful social nodes; Goodlife! Makan, an inclusive elderly activity centre that empowers stay-alone seniors through food rituals; as well as a dynamic collaborative workplace for Youth Charity, Heartware Network.

Mizah Rahman, Co-founder / Executive Director, Participate in Design (P!D)

Mizah Rahman is a designer and community organizer who is a strong advocate for a participatory and community-centric approach in the design and planning of cities and neighbourhoods. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Participate in Design (P!D), a non-profit design organisation that helps neighbourhoods and public institutions design community-owned spaces and solutions. She is also currently an Associate Lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, School of Design and Environment. Since the thesis for her Masters of Architecture at the National University of Singapore, Mizah’s portfolio of participatory-based works has expanded to include neighbourhood planning, public space design, and community art installations; all of which realised in partnership with grassroots organisations, educational institutions, civic groups and government agencies. Her standing in the participatory design field has seen her being invited to present at various local and international platforms including the New Cities Summit 2017, Asian Pacific Urban Youth Assembly organized by UN-Habitat, TedXBondUniversity and World Architecture Festival. She was a finalist in the Makers of More Challenge by Ashoka Changemakers, in 2015 and is nominated as a World Cities Summit Young Leader in 2018. She also sits on the Executive Committee at Singapore Heritage Society from 2017-2019.

Tan Beng Kiang, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore

Dr. Tan Beng Kiang holds a Doctoral degree from Harvard University, Master of Architecture from UCLA and Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) from National University of Singapore. She is a registered architect with rich experience in both the public and private sectors. She was the former Deputy Head of the Architecture Department, Year 4 leader and Leader of the Community and Housing Design Section. She served as a council member of the Singapore Institute of Architects and currently sits on various technical and advisory committees. She is a recipient of design and teaching awards including the 2018 Pacific Rim Award. As a strong advocate of participatory community design, she led community centric Design Studio projects in Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand. Her teaching and research interests are in Participatory Community Design & Planning, Service Learning, Community Development, Design for Aging, Sustainable Housing and Learning Environments. She is an active conference speaker and reviewer. Her publications are in journals, books and conference proceedings.

Cho Im Sik, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore

Dr. Cho Im Sik is Associate Professor and Deputy Head at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore where she serves as the Leader of Urbanism Research Cluster. Her research addresses the challenges and opportunities that Asian cities face with accelerating social change, focusing on the social dimension of sustainable development. Her research expertise lies in urban space planning for sustainable high-density environments and design for social sustainability involving community-based, participatory approaches. Her research on local neighbourhoods and communities was recognised as one of the High Impact Research in NUS and its research outcome was included in the Singapore Sustainability Blueprint 2015, reflected under the chapter of ‘an active and gracious community’ and thrust of ‘vibrant spaces for the community’, as an exemplary case that empowers the community to be involved in designing, maintaining and activating public spaces. Her books include Re-framing Urban Space: Urban Design for Emerging Hybrid and High-Density Conditions (2016, with Heng and Trivic) and Community-based Urban Development: Evolving Urban Paradigms in Singapore and Seoul (2017, with Križnik).

Terms of Use

The copyright of the contents and materials on this website as a whole is owned by the Great Asian Streets Symposium. No part of the contents and materials available on this website may be reproduced, licensed, sold, published, transmitted, modified, broadcasted or publicly displayed without the prior written permission of the Great Asian Streets Symposium.