It is the year 2500. In Singapore, We travel with driverless cars, Mars is a much-loved tourist spot, and robots live and walk among us as peers.
But there is one catch: we’re all underwater, because sea levels have risen more than six metres, based on projections by some scientists.
Returning to present day, Singapore has just turned 52, and we probably should start thinking about how to avoid this watery fate.
The city-state’s meteoric economic rise over many decades has launched a landscape of towering skyscrapers in the compact island nation, and its buildings contribute to almost a quarter of all emissions here. Offices, shopping malls, hotels, education institutions and healthcare facilities consume almost a third of Singapore’s electricity.
The greenhouse gases and carbon emissions generated by these sectors are contributing to climate change and changing Singapore’s ecosystem’s natural processes, at an increasingly alarming rate.
The global fight against climate change is real, and Singapore, aptly nicknamed, the Garden City, might just have the potential to combat it through technology and green building design. While Singapore’s own emissions contribute only about 0.11 per cent of the global total, the nation’s acclaimed city-in-a-garden setting can be a role-model for other cities. In fact, Singapore has already exported its urban development expertise, notably to Tianjin Eco-city in China, and Amaravati in India.
The clean and green environment that Singaporeans enjoy and are so proud of, is part of a legacy left over from decades of the country’s leaders placing the highest priority on protecting the environment.
For a country that has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement and been a vocal supporter of environment protection, building design can be a key opportunity to contribute. How does design come into play exactly? Can something that involves so much aesthetic content, make a noticeable dent in an issue as critical as global warming?
Garden City 2.0
An intensively urban community, Singapore uses a significant amount of energy.
But with the Building Construction Authority aiming for 80 per cent of buildings to be certified under the national Green Mark building certification scheme by 2030, and the awareness about climate change increasing every day, we are on the right track to turn that around.
Green buildings, designed to use resources more efficiently and cause minimal damage to the natural environment, have been hailed as a way to cope with the impact of climate change and reduce the environmental impact of urban living. Energy, water, indoor environmental quality, materials and so on are all taken into account in the buildings’ planning, design, and construction.
A few commercial buildings in Singapore have jumped on this green bandwagon – many urban planners now weave greenery throughout the city from green roofs that improve solar performance to cascading vertical gardens and verdant walls.
Just look at the architecture of the PARKROYAL on Pickering hotel, or the interior landscape of Food Garden in the Asia Square retail centre.