Meet Ang Jia Cong!
A graduate from the Master of Architecture program at National University of Singapore’s School of Design and Environment, Jia Cong is currently part of the City Planning, Extension and Design Unit (CPEDU) within the Urban Planning and Design Branch in UN-Habitat Headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya. She is also an advocate under the United Nations Major Working Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), contributing to discussions for Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.
Her architectural passions thread the juncture of humanitarianism and environmentalism, where she seeks to explore the possibilities of crisis- solving in disaster-stricken environments and to provide for urban planning solutions to improve living conditions for locals and displaced – she is currently involved in Kenyan projects - Kalobeyei New Settlement Project (Turkana County, Kenya) for integrated Host and Refugee communities, and Kenya Municipal Planning workshops, design and publications for urban planning. Her past experience has involved her in field-shelter missions with the Christian Nationals’ Commission in Cambodia, Thailand and West Kalimantan, alongside other sustainable-practice projects worldwide.
On why she does what she does:
“The desire or urge to work in the field of sustainable architecture, urban planning, and youth is its promise for change and growth – it sounds cliché but does hold true - the nature of these practices require holistic, all-encompassing approaches. It is work that keeps one humble, demanding assistance from various experts from cross cutting sectors – public space design, urban planning, sustainable technologies, environmental specialist, legal departments, architects, and the direct inclusion and participation from the local community. Working in a team ensures you give your best to the projects to maximize effectiveness of shared goals, and it pushes you to crystallise your values parallel to the rest of the world.
In Singapore, we are fortunate for a history of great leadership, camaraderie and our strategic economic developments – the success of our Urban Boards and design practices have allowed for unparalleled improvement in all sectors of life and the physical environment. The opportunities and potential to extend the knowledge of our practices to others should also be encouraged. We have a lot to learn as well – the appreciation for untamed nature, the regulated consumption of land and services, and the abundances of other cultures. Whatever small action we produce can contribute a magnitude of difference to the environment we live in. A simple thing to begin doing is to embrace change with greater environmental awareness. Some movements seem small but are largely beneficial – movements like Trash Hero, Home Composting practices, Urban Farming, and even replacing plastic bags by reusing or carrying your own bag add up in small measures.
On top of these passions, I am a consummate traveller, easy going, and on the listening end of whimsical conversations. I read quite extensively, draw in spurts, hope to improve my yoga practice and enjoy photography projects and learning new things. I also write at THEBIGSPUR, which covers a range of interests that mostly thread the practices of environmentalism and sustainability, and this is my academic design portfolio. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and am always up for a new adventure!”