On the Scene: Cities of Love Awards (COLA)

Cities of Love Awards (COLA)


Presenting SINGAPORE Cities of Love Awards (COLA) to winners whose projects have made an impact on our environment. The projects submitted is all about living sustainably, showing a little love for the environment we live in.

About "Cities of Love"

Earth's environmental problems are far from being resolved. A large part of these are due to ever-growing cities. Despite more efforts are made to improve cities, it has been difficult to change them. One of the fundamental reasons is that people are not motivated to help change their cities. Apathy is now the number one obstacle to positive change. However, there is hope and Love is the antidote.

What you love, you will sustain. Cities of Love aims to urge, persuade and provoke fellow residents of our earth to collectively shape the cities we live in. To achieve this, her residents must again uncover the reasons to love and therefore sustain their cities. To this end, Cities of Love tries to identify the elements and attributes for such active love. When a city is filled by the people who love their cities, then we can have a greater chance of advancing towards a better tomorrow. Love is a mighty force to be reckoned with.

COLA is also organized in support of SG Cares, a national movement dedicated to supporting the goodwill of Singaporeans and guide them to help those in need.

The man behind COLA is Mr Tai Lee Siang who practiced as architect and urban planner since 1990. His key projects won both local and international award and was featured in a URA exhibition "20 under 45" in March 2004. He held the position as President of Singapore Institute of Architects from 2007 to 2009. In 2011, he was elected as President of Singapore Green Building Council. Under his leadership, the first green building product certification scheme in Singapore was established. On the design front, he was elected President of Design Business Chamber Singapore in 2013. He started the Singapore Good Design Mark in 2014. Tai Lee Siang also held the position of Group Managing Director of Ong & Ong Group - a multi-discipline design firm - from 2011 to 2016. He is the Board Member of Health Science Authority and Board of Trustee of Singapore University of Technology and Design. Currently he is the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Executive Director (BUILDSG).

27 April 2019

Singapore Sustainability Academy @ City Square Mall, Level 6

As we explored the idea of loving our cities, COLA found themselves increasingly compelled to share findings with the world. In 2016, their first book, Cities of Love was published to encourage others to take a more proactive stance on sustainability. To date, this second award ceremony honoured those who has made an effort to live life in a sustainable and green way. Here's hot from their press kit.


Cities of Love Awards certificates of participation


From Left: Valerie Ang, Mr Tai Lee Siang, Dr Anuj Jain and Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District


Group from North West CDC with GOH, Mr Tai Lee Siang


Group photos of the organisers, guests and winners


From Left: Velerie Ang, Tai Lee Siang, Yeo Pei Shan, Augustine and Dr Teo

The second edition of the Cities of Love Awards (COLA) is presented at the Singapore Sustainable Academy on  27 April 2019]. The event celebrates and recognizes the outstanding sustainable efforts and creativity of enterprising individuals and organisations that are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions.

Established in 2017, COLA believes that everyone has the capability to foster change. It aims to be a catalyst of change through holistic creations that promote sustainable living. Its long-term vision is to develop a plethora of diverse creative projects that could include products, publications, multi-media productions and even gastronomic experiences. By introducing innovation and perspectives that are sustainable and economically feasible, it hopes to spawn solutions for sustainable living where cities can contribute to green living.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, says, "I am heartened to celebrate the sustainability efforts by Singaporeans from all walks of life through the Cities of Love Awards. Every effort, big or small, makes a difference and are lauded as impactful examples to inspire more to step up with innovative green ideas. I hold environmental issues close to heart and, together with the North West CDC, have been cultivating a green culture in my district through innovative programmes and upgrading volunteers' skills. I would like to encourage everyone to start by embracing green living at home and in the community."14 awards cover entries from individual, corporate and group and are divided into social and environmental categories. There are 3 Distinguished Award Winners and 11 Merit Awards.

Amongst the many impressive submissions, a project from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD‐MIT International Design Centre (IDC), Ugly-Food led by SUTD students has clinched the distinguished and Top Prize award for the corporate /environmental category. The Top Prize award was supported by City Developments Limited.

"Cities of Love Awards 2018 demonstrated that many people love their city. In Singapore, the efforts to do something for society and environment are astounding. I am heartened by the award entries and they prove once again that people do care for their city" said Mr. Tai Lee Siang Founder of COLA.

The "Cities of Love" Awards opened for entries in June 2018 and submissions was closed in January 2019. A jury panel comprises of the following individuals were convened and 14 awards will be presented. The jury panel members are:

Mr Allen Ang, GM, Project Management and Sustainable Design, Keppel Land

Mr Ang Kian Seng, Group Director, Environment Sustainability Group, BCA

Ms Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited


From Left: Dr Pablo, Prof Thomas Schroepfer, Augustine, Yeo Pei Shan, Asst. Prof. Chong Keng Hua and Assistant Professor - Oliver Heckmann

Cities of Love Distinguished Award winners

Environmental Category


Dr. Anuj Jain, conservation and biomimicry - stitching nature, people and design. He  submitted his multi-projects has received the distinguished award under environmental category; demonstrated impressive achievements with 3 keywords-nature, people and design. He set up the Biomimicry Singapore Network for individuals and organizations to learn about biomimicry - a science and innovation tool to learn to emulate nature's designs for everyday solutions


Yang Mei Ling, Beh Tai Kuan, Issac Ng, Chian Yu Ling, David Lee and William Lim, Recycle @ North West. The group submitted their project Recycle @ North West. An environmental sustainability project that is under the 3Rs pillar (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) of Green Living @ North West. They worked closely with 3P partners (Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Grassroots Organizations (GROs) to implement active recycling; almost 100% of the recyclables collected are recycled.


Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC), Ugly Food. Ugly Food, a project on reducing food waste and increasing wellness while decreasing carbon footprint, received the distinguished and Top Prize Award. It diverts food away from the landfill by transforming it into delectable and healthy food products. It focuses on reducing wastage due to cosmetic filtering. Ugly-Food - to inspire people to change their lifestyle by being planet-friendly, imparting relevant skills and broadening mindsets.

Cities of Love Merit Award winners

Social Category


  • Singapore University Technology Design - Creative Ageing City
  • Republic Polytechnic - Incorporating Service-Learning in Engineering Design Module


  • Ong Guat Teng (Leader), Yamamura Aya,Cassandra Tan Zhi Yin, Chen Shi
  • Ting, Christine St Knight, Erawati Lim, Goh Jing Yu, Muhammad Nazly Bin
  • Rusali, Naura Shamim Khan Binte Kabeer Khan, Nurul Natashah Binte Rashid,
  • Pai Jun Heng Alvin, Teo Li Min Celine, Ting Yi Feng.- Seeing the Obvious
  • Dipna Lim Prasad (Team Singapore Hurdler), James Walton (Deloitte Singapore) and Sport Singapore. - In My Shoes Movement

Environmental Category


  • Maria Teresa Abelanes - Adopt a Community
  • Anuj Jain - Conservation and Biomimicry - stitching Nature, People and Design


  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD‐MIT International Design Centre (IDC) - Tropical Typology ‐ Climate‐Responsive Passive Design Strategies for Tropical High‐Density Housing
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) With Lien Foundation (LF), Sembcorp Industries (SI) and, PUB (Singapore's National Water Agency) - Singapore Junior Water Prize
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD‐MIT
  • International Design Centre (IDC) - Passive Soft-Robots for Long-Term Marine Pollution Studies
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD‐MIT International Design Centre (IDC) - Interactive Multi-Objective Optimisation Tools for Parametric Modelling and Environmental Simulation
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), SUTD‐MIT International Design Centre (IDC) - Ugly-Food

From Left: Valerie Ang, Tai Lee Siang, Oliver Heckmann, Dr Teo


From Left: Valerie Ang, Tai Lee Siang, Dr Anuj Jain & Dr Teo


From Left: Mr Tai  Lee Siang, Ms Valerie, Mr Allen Ang, Dr Teo, Mr Beh Tai Kuan and Mr. Dennis Chee