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National University Singapore’s collaboration to find solutions for growing sustainable cities

Researchers from NUS Design and Environment and Yale-NUS College have collaborated with ETH Zurich and other Singapore universities to start a Future Cities Lab Global (FCL Global) – an international, interdisciplinary research collaboration that aims to develop solutions to help cities and their surrounding regions achieve sustainable growth.

NUS Deputy President -Research and Technolog, Professor Chen Tsuhan said that NUS adopts a systems approach to solving real-world problems concerning climate change and sustainability.

He said, “Harnessing our deep and broad expertise in areas such as green technologies, design, engineering, sciences, social sciences and public policy, we aim to advance integrated sustainability solutions that are optimised and resilient for tropical, urban and Asian settings.”

Launched in December last year, the five-year collaborative venture seeks to address the globally significant challenges of expanding urbanisation, where existing cities are fast growing and new cities are emerging in the face of rapid population growth.

Tapping on the deep expertise of 120 engineers, architects, environmental scientists, economists and social scientists from Singapore and Switzerland, the collaboration builds on the work of the now-completed Future Cities Laboratory Programme which focused on cities and their development.

Supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF), FCL Global expands the focus to address corridors and networks between cities and the surrounding regions – such as roads, ports, rivers, and airports, as well as their impact on land use and ecology.

The collaboration will be co-hosted in two research laboratories: ETH Zurich, and Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) – a partnership established between ETH and NRF at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).

NUS researchers are involved in six of the eight projects that are currently being carried out. These will focus on topics such as green buildings and neighbourhoods in dense urban areas, new technologies for recycling building materials, and solutions to aid tropical coastal cities in Asia that are distressed or at risk of flooding.

Prof Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS Design and Environment and a member of the FCL Global Steering Committee, observed that Singapore is one of the most liveable cities in Asia and the world. Stressing on the need to focus on a holistic people-centric design to build a resilient city of tomorrow, he added, “NUS’ multi-disciplinary research in collaboration with FCL Global will develop future-ready solutions for sustainable and healthy cities. This will also help advance Singapore’s multi-ministry effort to achieve the Singapore Green Plan 2030.”

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