The Feeling Border: Reimaging Straits of Johor as Cross-Border Urban Commons
Student: Yeow Yann Herng Supervisor: Dr Ye Zhang The Straits of Johor, which forms the border between Singapore and Malaysia, has never ceased to be a site of power contestation, rendering the waterscape into terra nullius. In view of the fast changing international geo-political environment, this study attempts to explore the possibilities of transforming the border of separation into a shared territory that can facilitate cooperation between Singapore and Johor, a state of Malaysia, achieving common economic growth, greater social cohesion, and higher competence of the region. Tackling food security, a pressing issue for both Singapore and Johor, this design research proposes to turn the Strait of Johor into a shared urban infrastructure for food production. It is hoped to maximize the positive externalities through through to address a series of bilateral issues arising from the separation, such as physical connections, land reclamation, water dispute, etc. Moreover, this study also aims to raise a critique on the current global food industry, which is mostly controlled by the hegemonic force of neoliberal capitalism. Through phased comprehensive masterplan and design of adaptable architecture, it demonstrates how governments can possibly leverage capitalist corporates, turning their profit-making intentions into catalysts for achieving broader social objectives – creating a cross-border commons.
Board of Architects Medal and Prize
Singapore Institute of Architects Medal
Aedas Medal and Prize in Architectural Design Thesis
Envisioning Spatial Practice of Co-Production and Collaborative Consumption
Student: Chen Han Teng Kenny Supervisor: Dr Ye Zhang Powered by information technology advancement, sharing as a novel economic institution has brought forward new collaborative lifestyles, entrepreneurialism exchanges and social interactions in modern cities. These changes also challenge the conventional concepts of and boundaries between the private and public. Moreover, concerning urban design, this means that existing approaches need to be adapted or new ones to be developed to create new public spaces to accommodate and then facilitate the practice of sharing, in particular, sharing production and consumption.
This thesis investigates on new forms of co-production and collaborative consumption based on the notion of repair and various related sharing practices. Specifically, it focuses on the potential of repairing to engender sharing systems for the regeneration of a historical neighbourhood in Singapore. A Repairing Village becomes defines new forms of public space associated with different dimensions of sharing. The act of repairing provides an understanding of the cradle-to-cradle product cycle in our everyday lives. Interactions between ‘repairing’ and ‘community’ provide the necessary platform for active social entrepreneurialism and new forms of social ties within and beyond the local scale.
This thesis argues that envisioning spatial practice of these concepts entails a need to prioritise against the values, limitations and biases of the sharing economy. As a pivotal design investigation, it opens many possibilities of how repairing as a form of cooperative sharing can be translated into efficacious design for the spatial practice of co-production and collaborative consumption.
Facilitating an active lifestyle with sharing bikes along The Railway Corridor in Singapore
Student: Ong Guo Xiang Supervisor: Dr Ye Zhang The rail corridor in Singapore is the remnant of a 24km railway line that stretches from the northern end of Woodlands Checkpoint to the southern end at Tanjong Pagar Railway Terminal. One of the legacy of the railway line is that it left behind a corridor which extends unobstructed into vastly diverse neighbourhoods across the island. The railway line cuts across the industrial parks along Kranji, residential areas such as Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah, the research hub of one-North, and terminates near the commercial hub of the Central Business District. In other words, the rail corridor is entirely uninterrupted by any vehicular traffic, and serves as a bridge between large areas of residential and employment areas.
This unique characteristic of the rail corridor allows us to explore an alternative to the existing commuting options of cars, buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and at the same time a viable exercise option. While uncommon in Singapore, cycling as a form of commute is an established practice in some cities around the world. In a country like Singapore where every bit of land is contested and given the precedence we have around the world, it is perhaps inevitable that we ask whether we can cycle along the rail corridor to commute to work. A publication from the World Health Organisation recommends 150 mins of moderate aerobic activity for adults to maintain physical health. However, caught between busy work schedules and for many office workers a sedentary working life, there is little time for physical activity. In this sense, the rail corridor presents itself as an option to implement and test out the implication of facilitating an active lifestyle that integrates exercising and commuting with bicycles.
This thesis seeks to propose another way of looking at the rail corridor, by exploring its potential as a commute option for bicycles, and in turn catalyst the formations of new communities built around an active lifestyle of exercising and commuting. It aims to demonstrate that the new development of the rail corridor and the need to preserve the natural heritage of the rail corridor is not mutually exclusive. Furthermore, this thesis will explore how the new technology that enables the Collaborative Economy can be utilised in conjunction with careful design to create a vision of the rail corridor for all.
The participatory market: co-creating the community centre through recycling and upcycling food waste
Student: Gabriel Ng Yong Woon Supervisor: Dr Ye Zhang
While participation in community programmes that tackles real community issues in Singapore is usually exclusive, resulting in low accessibility and isolation from residents' everyday life, symbolic participation in the form of top-down programmes within an everyday community setting often have superficial social meaning and significance. This then requires the development of a new model that can increase accessibility for community to participate in the co-creation through the setting within a space that is part of and integral to everyday life. In this way, participants are able to imprint part of themselves onto a collective picture which showcases the community as a whole. And the co-creation process also allows social interactions within the community to be tangibly represented and visualised.
In Singapore, food centers and markets are where the strong local culture is displayed and unfolded. They are places where the community naturally congregates. This thesis aims to develop a new typology of food centers and markets that enables residents' participation in the co-creation of community through contributing resources and knowledge, and sharing experiences and skills. This new typology first collects 'ugly' food from supermarkets, leftover food from food retailers, and unconsumed food stocks from homes, and then co-creates and produces new forms of products based on these 'resources' and through learning and experimentation. It encourages 1) a new kind of retail, where new products are made from re-purposed food waste; 2) a farm fertilised with composted fertiliser and grown from food scraps/seeds; and 3) a new consumption process where the waste produced is fed back into the closed cycle.
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