Singapore to build Cities of Tomorrow
The Singapore government is setting aside $120 million to implement a new Cities of Tomorrow program to achieve the vision of a highly liveable and people-centric city with a sustainable urban ecosystem, reports Open Gov Asia.
The announcement was made by the minister for national development, Lawrence Wong, in his opening address at the Fourth Urban Sustainability R&D Congress. The funds will be drawn from the Urban Solutions and Sustainability (USS) Domain formed last year under the government’s national Research, Innovation and Enterprise plan (RIE 2020).
The program will focus on three key R&D areas: advanced construction and resilient infrastructure; creating new spaces; and providing a high-quality and sustainable living environment for all Singaporeans.
Advanced construction and resilient infrastructure refers to enhanced construction productivity through the use of technology and ensuring well-maintained, reliable infrastructure, as Singapore reaches a stage of development where ageing infrastructure could be cause for concern.
“We must have a more highly productive, integrated and technologically advanced construction sector that can build faster, that can build with fewer manpower resources,” Wong said. “This can include making use of robots, or automated equipment to increase site productivity, or advanced construction materials with enhanced performance.”
Research will also explore the use of new technologies in condition monitoring for effective maintenance. For example, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) is looking to exploit smart solutions and leverage sensors, the Internet of Things and data for a more predictive and proactive approach for the maintenance of HDB towns and estates.
Cities of Tomorrow will also focus on creating new spaces to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to support future long-term development, notwithstanding Singapore’s land constraints. Creating more usable underground or sea spaces could be potential paths for exploration. Cost and environmental impact will have to be considered.
In the third focus area, Cities of Tomorrow aims to create a sustainable city by conducting research in areas such as resource and energy-efficiency, becoming a more car-light society and helping residents integrate and interact more closely with greenery and nature.
Minister Wong shared a few examples of initiatives in this area. One research project is looking at ways to mitigate noise within HDB flats, through active cancellation of noise on the windows, like in headphones.
The use of new materials and technologies is also being explored to make buildings more water and energy efficient. For example, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is working with the National University of Singapore (NUS) on nanocomposite films that can convert heat to energy for more effective indoor cooling in the tropics, while improving air quality.
Wong added that while the government can put a framework and research support systems in place, as the Singapore government is doing, efforts by researchers and industry will be important to deliver the entire pipeline of research and innovation.
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