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Living with Water

Timothy Tay Zhi Wei

- Adj. Assoc. Prof. Teh Joo Heng


During the 2019 National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the urgent need for Singapore to tackle Rising Sea Levels. He mentioned that although Singapore is already making plans for new developments to be at least 4m above the mean sea level, existing buildings are still at risk of flooding, suggesting mitigation measures such as dykes & polders to be implemented.



This thesis aims to explore the possibility of embracing water, allowing floodwaters into Singapore’s coastal areas, instead of resisting it. As an alternative to the government’s plan of building dykes and polders on reclaimed land, it reimagines how coastal districts can integrate water into its urban landscape.



With incoming water, there will be a loss in public spaces and greenery, impacting our quality of life. Hence, this thesis focuses on restoring public spaces and greenery as well as enhancing the quality of life through embracing incoming seawater. It aims to create a better living, playing and sustainable environment for all with new forms of water-based public spaces, bringing people and water together.

With the aim of retaining as many existing buildings as possible, it is understandable that some buildings have to be protected, by clustering these buildings into islands. The remaining areas are public spaces with new concepts that have never been implemented in Singapore before. These include a Live Fish Market, that allows one to catch and consume fresh fishes, harbor baths, urban lagoons, floating food stalls, floating hydroponic pods as well as a highline etc.

Supervisor's comments:

Rising sea levels is always an interesting subject to examine for a thesis project. Timothy’s project involves both the rational study of topography, considering how the habitable land surface is transformed, as well as creative strategies on how to modify the habitable surface to cope with rising sea levels and live symbiotically with water. This thesis has outlined many interesting ideas worthy of consideration. Further research is necessary to understand how life and ecology can adapt itself at the various stages of rising sea levels, and how to live symbiotically with rising sea levels in an amphibious manner.

- Adj. Assoc. Prof. Teh Joo Heng
Timothy Tay Zhi Wei

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