Law Chung Yan Vanetta
Bridging the Nature Gap at ECP Waterfront:
Re-rendering a Coexisting Habitat for Human and Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Thesis Tutor: Prof. Rudi Stuoffs

Site: East Coast Park Waterfront

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Hawksbill Sea Turtle, a critically endangered species, comes to the sandy beach in Singapore every year from July to September for nesting and laying eggs. After the 7 phases of reclamation projects, East Coast Park was free of great construction in the past 20 years’ time and the beach of East Coast has become one of the nesting locations. East Coast Park might not be a perfect site for them because of the disturbances brought by human. Instead of putting sea turtle into a “safe” environment, I am interested in finding the possibility of living with them in the same habitat without overlooking any parties. 

In this project, I aimed at developing a communicating mechanism by physical elements and structure. In other words, the needs and desires of humanity and sea turtles can be fulfilled at the same time if we can apply human-turtle-coexisting mode at East Coast Park successfully. Human can communicate and direct Hawksbill Sea Turtle to a safer, more comfortable habitat without compromising the needs of our own.

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Conflict between animals and humans has shifted over time by creating contemporary ways for shared spaces.  Space, food and shelter are the limiting factors for all beings in the world. Although we might need to absorb additional costs and loss that would not require in the absence of sea turtles, we have chances to spot and get closer to turtles. The governing trade-offs in the ecological world among stakeholder groups is a must for the sake of the whole ecosystem.

Light can be used as as communication medium between human and turtles. Hatchings have an innate instinct that brings them to the brightest direction, which should be the reflected moonlight onto the sea. Lighting near the shore disorients hatchlings and leads them to inland wrongly. Developments on water can serve as light tower to direct baby Hawksbill Sea Turtle back to the sea. The arrangement of physical elements should respond to the hatching behaviour of turtles.

The government is going to add another 1500 hectares of land for residential in to the reclaimed land, recreational and other use. About 200 thousand residents were expected to live in this new waterfront suburb. It might be possible to settle residents at East Coast but a large-scale reclamation project might not be the appropriate answer  as sea turtle already see ECP as their home.

The whole park is quite big for building a community for human and turtle. I decided to select the waterfront area in zone C-D. I referenced on URA’s reclamation plan in 2030 and calculated the number of residents and number of new homes at the site I selected. I would like to reach the target that the government set as most as possible without neglecting the need of sea turtles.