Sharne Sulaiman
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Arboreal Urbanism: A Future Standard in Urban-Nature Symbiosis

Thesis supervisor: A/P Shinya Okuda

Site: Marina Bay, Singapore

Arboreal Urbanism imagines the next step in tropical high density urbanism.

This thesis sees multiple issues arising from the rapid urbanisation of tropical cities, creating unpleasant urban experiences that are of complete artifice. A lack of natural spaces in these equatorial urban centres compounds the effects of archaic models of urbanisation and poor land use.

Through historical analysis of green urbanism, the design proposal situates itself as the future standard by which tropical cities can follow. High density urbanism is evolved into a form where nature and urbanism is in a more perfect symbiosis.

Situated in Singapore’s Marina Bay as a prominent beacon of green urbanism, Arboreal Urbanism is planned as a green belt, a green infrastructure that is hoped to be linked by progressive development with its intended green patches. It aims to positively impact its urban and rural surroundings through ecosystem services, wildlife connectivity, and biodiversity support.

Transportation paths and buildings are integrated together and lifted high above a tropical rainforest, allowing greenery to freely flow beneath. A new ground plane of vibrancy is formed.

The design proposal employs carbon-fibre reinforced wood as a new material to augment its vision of a carbon negative development, creating long spans and column free spaces, allowing great flexibility in programme and use.


It is hoped that the design proposal increases the significance of robust nature to be incorporated in urban environments, where tropical cities can be greener, healthier centres that benefit both wildlife and society.

"inserting the forest into the city"

Arboreal Urbanism Full Panels

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The proposed net-zero energy district would take into consideration urban parameters, such as site coverage and urban density, alongside other environmental measures to reduce energy demand needed for extensive mechanical cooling. Being car-free also means that public spaces would be reserved for active lifestyle habits, mobility and alternative modes of transport. Powered completely by solar and kinetic energy, the community would be energy self sufficient and resilient.