Sustainability x Creativity: the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition Day 2

TAGUIG CITY – Many of the world’s problems–in communication and transportation, for example–have been addressed through the creativity of some of the most brilliant of minds. It’s no surprise that some creative advocates are putting creativity at the forefront in promoting sustainable urban development and building communities.

On the second day of the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition, an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Design Center of the Philippines, and ASEAN member countries organized as part of the ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, member cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and leaders of creative hubs and clusters shared how they are making creativity the heart of their developmental efforts. 

Inspiring fellow ASEAN nations about the initiatives they’re doing as creative cities discussed during the first panel were Tita Larasati, Secretary General, Bandung Creative City Forum, Pekalongan Mayor Akhmad Alf Arslan Djunaid, and Jackson Tan, Founder and Creative Director of BLACK Design from Singapore, moderated by Julia Nebrija, Assistant General Manager for Operations at MMDA. 


Bandung and Pekalongan, Indonesia are Creative Cities of Design and of Crafts and Folk Arts that boast of loose government restrictions, giving them the freedom to carry out events, activities, and projects to further the cities’ creative cities. 

“We just do what we want in Bandung and apologize later. Then we invite government. Communication is important,” said Larasati. 

Singapore, Creative City of Design, on the other hand, admits that the government is quite strict but very involved and supportive as well about the city’s creative initiatives.

“Singapore government proactive. You put up studio you can expect knock on door. ‘How can we help?’” shared Tan.
Creative Hubs and Clusters are part of the drivers of sustainable creative cities. In the second and third panels, Andrew Erskine, Senior Associate, Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, Kittiratana Pitipanich, Deputy Directorm Thailand Creative and Design Center, Gillian Easson, Founder and Director, Creative Dundee UK, Jia-Ping Lee, Programme Director, Think City Malaysia, Katelijn Verstraete, Regional Director, Arts and Creative Industries, British Council East Asia, Ellen O’Hara, Creative and Cultural Strategist, Victoria ‘Boots’ Herrera, Director, Ateneo Art Gallery, ADMU, Marika Constantino, Co-Founder and Executive Director, 98B Philippines, Fajiri Siregar, Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Policy Governance Indonesia, Ling Low, Journalist from Malaysia discussed how their hubs and clusters drive sustainable creative cities by holding meet ups, and other events that gather the cities’ creatives.

“Creative hubs are about bringing people together, testing ideas,” said Verstraete. 

The last day of the ASEAN Creative Cities and Forum Exhibition ended on a high note, with a simple but meaningful message of support from the Philippine government: “Creativity never dies. We create ideas to create more ideas,” concluded DTI Usec. Nora Terrado.  

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