Sustain-a-City Urban Innovation Challenge winners

Arkki Singapore brings the champs of Sustain-a-City: An Urban Innovation Challenge to Helsinki, Finland for a 5-day Sustainability Learning Trip

Winners of Sustain-a-City: An Urban Innovation Challenge embarked on a trip to Helsinki, Finland last December 2023 and immersed in the unique Arkki environment of design thinking and innovation by learning about the Nordic approach to sustainability. They also connected with like-minded youths who are invested in the future of our planet.

Participants of the competition were invited to reimagine what a sustainable, net-zero city could look like, and to share their innovative solutions around the following key themes: Energy & Resource Systems, Future of Mobility, Nature & Biodiversity, Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructures, and Waste Management and Circular Economy.

Grand Prize and People's Choice Award winners Yeong Yoong Sze, 21; Lau Hiu Naam, 21, and Low Thien Shawn, 21, all from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore advanced to the finals along with 5 other shortlisted teams where they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

Their winning entry, XWater, is about a smart urban pavement water management system that comprises hexagonal concrete pavement units and a water storage system. The pavement units contain micro detention cylinders that slow down and store rainwater, which can then infiltrate into the ground. This feature allows cities to replenish groundwater and mitigate the rate of urban sinking.

The competition was organised by Temasek Ecosperity’s platform, in partnership with Arkki Singapore. Participants first had to attend 3 virtual design workshops last April 2023 conducted by Arkki’s Design and Creative Coaches who engaged the participating teams in 1-on-1 coaching sessions to guide them towards a successful submission.

"This was not an ordinary trip or vacation, it was a fruitful journey; My teammates (Hiu Naam Lau, Shawn Low) and I were already discussing ideas that sparked in us during the journey ... endless possibilities indeed!
I want to give a very big thank you to SHOO SHYUAN SIM 沈淑娴 and Ting-Ting Zhang 张婷婷 for organizing this competition, leading this tour, taking care of us and certainly providing not only knowledge but sharing their personal experiences! We now see things from a bigger picture and relatively different perspectives. Cheers to meeting again in the future! 🍻 "
— Yeong Yoong Sze
Yeong Yoong Sze
Sustain-a-City: An Urban Innovation Challenge Winner (XWater)

The team visited not just iconic landmarks such as the Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki University Library, Uspenski Cathedral, Old Market Hall but more importantly, took in the sights and sounds and the way of life for the people in Helsinki.

A visit to Arkki Finland where Arkki Founder Pihla Meskanen conducted a short session on AI x Design. The Arkki HQ is located most fittingly at none other than the famous Helsinki Cable Factory – also known as Kaapelitehdas in Finnish.

The team learned from Essi, Sustainability Manager from the Woods division about Stora’s innovations in processing wood, downstream products and efforts in preserving biodiversity including preserving fallen trees and their surrounding habitat.