The government of Singapore has launched a new initiative christened ‘Cities of Tomorrow’ today to conduct research and development on construction and infrastructure, and create new spaces and a more resource-efficient living environment integrated with nature. The government has set aside SGD150 million for this purpose.
Making this announcement today, Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development of Singapore, said, “The SGD150 million kitty will come from the SGD900 million set aside for Urban Solutions and Sustainability under Singapore's Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan.” The Minister was speaking at the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress organised by his ministry with 16 government agencies.
Speaking about the Cities of Tomorrow initiative, the Minister said, “Firstly, research and development (R&D) on advanced construction and resilient infrastructure will boost construction productivity and use smart technologies to maintain buildings well.”
Citing an example, he said, “The Housing and Development Board is looking at ways to move towards a more predictive and proactive approach to maintain towns and estates, using sensors, the Internet of Things and big data. It will sign a memorandum of understanding with Imperial College London and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research for its project.”
As far as new spaces are concerned, research will be done about how to create more usable underground and sea space in a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive way.
The priority of Singapore is to move functions like utilities, warehousing and storage facilities underground to free up more land on the surface.
Thirdly, R&D area of the Cities of Tomorrow programme will be on building a more sustainable city. Research will be done into ways to enable residents to interact closely with greenery, and live in a cooler and quieter environment.
For example, the Building and Construction Authority and National University of Singapore are working on nanocomposite films that can convert heat to energy for more effective indoor cooling in the tropics while improving air quality.
The Minister reiterated, “Cities of Tomorrow will enable Singapore to deal with the increasing complexities of running a city state. This requires greater coordination and better integration of research efforts to reap synergies.”
Under Singapore's Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 announced last year, the plan sets aside SGD19 billion to drive innovation in Singapore's economy and society.
In the programme, more than 1,000 participants from government, research institutes and the private sector participated.