Dutch born urban planner Ester van Steekelenburg has long been fascinated by Asia’s fast changing cities, but also saddened by the disappearance of its older neighbourhoods. In 2014 she founded social enterprise Urban Discovery to help governments, developers and NGO’s across Asia build a business case for heritage revitalisation and better capitalise on their heritage assets.
Her core experience is in urban regeneration plans and feasibility studies to generate real investment in historic buildings in Asia’s emerging economies. Recent examples include downtown Yangon (Myanmar), Fort Frederick in Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), colonial buildings in Semarang (Indonesia), the citadel of Hue (Vietnam) and the historic streetscape of Thakhek (Laos).
Ester is also the moving force behind iDiscover, a series of community curated walking and cycling routes in Asia’s most authentic neighbourhoods. Packaged as a socially responsible travel guide – a clever combination of a map plus an app – it also works as a positive and simple tool for destination branding and community dialogue in historic districts.
Ester holds an MSc Urban Planning from University of Amsterdam and a PhD in Urban Economics from the University of Hong Kong.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Bowen Room, Level 7, Conrad Hong Kong
Are Asian governments effectively protecting their historic sites, and how does heritage preservation feature in city-wide plans for urban regeneration?