Rebecca Chong
Alternative Education

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Ruzica Bozovic Stamenovic

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This thesis proposes inculcating mental resilience on a socioeconomic level, through a decentralized learning paradigm, Alternative Education, that integrates academia and the real-world. The terms ‘academics’ and ‘real-world’ applied in this dissertation refers to the educational institutional domain and the working-life sphere. The issue is that the advancement of Artificial intelligence (AI) had caused a technological disruption leading to economics and individual threats, and is anticipated to cause further detrimental effects following the unprecedented revolutions in the 21st century; aggravating the mental health landscape. Yet, humankind today lacks the resilience and skills required to conquer the radical uncertainties. Resilience remains a mere concept and academia continues to emphasize irrelevant predetermined traditional skills.

However, to flourish in the 21st century, the role of education must fulfill a powerful learning condition through the establishment of a self-regulated, socially inclusive,  AI and technology proficient, flexible, mobile, and upgradable environment. Through these, Singapore’s future mental health landscape will foresee a positive influence. Herewith research question arises: How can architecture design a new learning paradigm that narrows the academic-real world gap and sets the stage for the development of resilience?


Keywords:  academia-real world, AI, education,  flexible, mental resilience, mental health landscape, mobile, practice, revolutions, reinvent, socioeconomics, self-regulated, socially inclusive, theory, upgrade, uncertainties.


The thesis proposes a vertical and decentralized learning paradigm through the integration of academia and the real world in a singular system; undefined by physical contrasts and age division.  The project adopts an umbrella concept where the Alternative Education begins from a central point, diffusing outwards over a period. Learning occurs outside the pivotal point into the surrounding knowledge-based space to enhance the research process. These cores are dispersed into the surroundings according to the types of knowledge-based space. As a result, the criteria will determine the flexibility, mobility, and upgradability of spaces, constructed from futuristic materials. Ultimately, the dynamic network of the new urban commoning characterized by relevant real-world issues, AI and technologies, and smart systems, aims to empower economic resilience, social resilience, and individual resilience.


In conclusion, resilience is an intangible quality that is impossible to manifest directly into physical forms. Nevertheless, it is possible to design a viable environment that sets the conditions to foster this powerful quality. Alternative Education inculcates resilience on four layers. Firstly, the assimilation of academia with real-world that cultivates a resilient mindset towards failures and strengthens the adaptability in the face of adversities. Secondly, the competency in AI and technology prevents psychological hacking due to a deeper understanding of the complex technological disruption. Thirdly, the flexible and self-regulated network empowers resilience through the decision making. Lastly, education as a reflection of emerging problems is a symbolic architecture that serves as a mental orientation in the real-world. Through these strategies, the inculcation of resilience will ensure that the future mental health landscape in Singapore will observe a positive influence and academia will fulfill a powerful learning condition for independent thinkers, in the participation of ideation and leadership skills