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Keywords: Architecture
Urban Design
Tay Kheng Soon
2007/2008 Aki MAUD
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2014
Abstract: In the Nobel Lecture delivered in Norway, Oslo on 10 December 2007, El Gore proclaimed, "We human species, are confronting a planetary emergency- a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here... in the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter". And indeed, in the Australian Climate 'code red' report- The case for a sustainability emergency (release in mar 2008), climate scientists and observers reported a mark increase in sea ice loss and highlighted that a sea-level rise of 5-metres by 2100 is now imminent- and this will be 100 year ahead of what IPCC has previously projection. Face with this serious threat of rising sea-level, the island-city-state of Singapore is potentially left with two possible physical solutions. Option-One, Singapore can choose to "ring-fence" the island with sea-walls strong and tall enough to handle the worst-case scenario of sea-level rising above the 12-m range (assuming both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets melt ultimately) or Option-Two, Singapore can start a eco-city rebuilding (and re-planning) programme to incorporate new physical typology and technologies (with elevated buildings, road and other transport infrastructures on "stilts") for the affected coastal areas "accommodating" the impending flooding and adapting her coastal and inland inhabitants to live (and work) differently with a reduced island land surfaces. The Option-One approach will essentially be a geo-technical/structural solution with the clear advantage that once the inhabitants are safely protected (and enclosed} by the new perimeter sea­ wall, the city can continue to function in its "business-as-usual" lifestyle and consumption mindset with perhaps a some tweaking here-and-there to meet the IPCC demand for lowering carbon emission. Structural safety, construction and maintenance cost (of this mega-scale sea wall) aside, the wall-up concept may appear to be the most pain-less solution as it seemingly requires the least governmental intervention and causes minimal disruption to the current life style of the 4.5 millions inhabitants. Life style adjustment may, at the very most, be affecting the coastal inhabitants of the island (especially those living near the east coast area) who will need to accept that there will be no more beach-front left for the usual weekend fun. There is nothing "ecologically friendly" in adopting Option-One and as such, it is therefore unable to present itself as a long-term solution to mitigate the underlying problem to climatic change which, as this paper will assert, is largely due to the adopted values and ensuing life style in the globalize economy currently at work in Singapore. In choosing the Option-One approach, Singapore will likely miss the golden opportunity to squarely face-up to the root causes that have directly resulted in the rising of sea-level and use this opportunity for the nation to re-think and re-invent the current economy (and its infrastructures) for a more enduring one. A new "Eco-nomy" that will possess greater resilience to withstand global shocks, such as the food and energy crisis that have started to surface in many parts of the globe. From examining the root causes to climatic change, the planning proposal (for the Stilt eco-city, Singapore) will be broadly outlined in this paper with attempts to examine and highlight key differences and advantage in taking the Option-Two approach. Option-Two will require planning for a drastic physical change (that of allowing the island-state to shrink with rising sea-level) resulting with an increase in sea-water surfaces. In this possibly "unthinkable" scenario, the nation will need to build an entirely new eco-city phase-by-phase. In brief, this Stilt Eco-city Singapore, in my proposal, will consist of a "global-oriented" linear zone build on stilts over the flooded area (similar in landuse to our current CBD district) and re-creating (again with drastic re-adaptation) our existing HDB and private estate (especially those located on higher land) to support a whole new "local­ oriented" eco-community that will be engaged in local food production (both in the agri and aquatic culture sectors). Option-Two approach is clearly one that is designed and planned to "work with" rather than "against" the forces-of-nature, which is in the first place, is a much stronger force than the cleverness of man and secondly, a force that is seriously unpredictable and lethal. This forces-of­ nature (in the form of droughts, flooding, hurricanes ...etc), as scientist and climate activists are confirming, is quietly waging a major war again the human race for our neglect and destruction on mother earth. The physical advantage of the Option-Two approach will be to seize the obvious reality of more sea-water area (or surfaces) and turning it into an advantage (and avenues) such as for cheaper Eco-friendly transportation mode, like solar-powered water transit system, as well as in expanding the current capacity of reservoirs for flesh water and more aqua-culture farm to feed the new economy and the needs other neighboring nations.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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