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minphf’s design site: Land Use Design – World Population in a 1000 Singapores… August 22, 2010

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, environment.
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The line in the Straits Times a couple of days ago caught my eye: ‘By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities in the developing world’. This caught my attention as I was travelling on the train home. Honestly I have been dreading the idea of increasing the poputlation to 5.5 million in the near future. Surely, this piece of news citing Singapore’s land use to house some 6 billion people on just 0.5 % of our planet’s land must be scary, if not petrifying.

Singapore, which has only a land size of  710 square kilometers, is aiming to house some 6 million inhabitants on land. As a citizen and resident of this tiny dot, I must admit it was an eye popper news. I have been squeezing through trains, and replaning my time around peak hours. But when I start to recall  spaces around places on this tiny dot,  this seemingly daunting aim appears to be achievable from mainly 3 aspects:

  1. surprisingly, there is still good amount of green spaces that could be utilized.;
  2. the way these designs of flatted properties with underground system planning of spaces could effectively save a lot of land space for a growing population.
  3. there is very little crime, and people are generally at peace, making this concept of urban planning feasible.

We are currently undergoing the pace of change where lots of spaces are still undergoing constructional change, which is why the crowded packs. Complementing this undergoing this space change would be the enlarged network of the Mass Rapid Transit points, which will see extended links in the central parts of the country. Mass Rapid Transits’ undergrounds are also built with retailing outlets apart from linking them directly to office, recreational and residential spaces. For a tiny dot to remain as a livable urban city, the living spaces must grow along the rising population (both expats and local).

Checking this illustration on Straits Times [Aug 2010]

The above illustration shows the size comparison with Texas, in the US and with China. If this were the way the land is used, theoretically it would take up very little piece of land, leaving a huge remainder of the earth’s surface for other uses. Though theoretically ideal, there are a few worries off hand:

  1. Would everyone agree with such land use? Different cultures of different peoples around the world would not agree to the kind of living depending on one’s idea of what is comfortable and even ‘prestigious’ living. Some may consider this as a packed up living life style where you cannot enjoy the spaciousness of greens and enjoy the big airy skies around you.
  2. Social economically, and more importantly politically; this idea of land use may not be palatable to all. It would need the sacrifice of space where grandeur may have to be taken away in architectural designs of monumental buildings. This could impact social uproar when national identity and pride is taken away via a reduction of space for these historically important venues.
  3. The price of land would peak unless we have an economics system where this cost could be cut from earnings from other areas. This could possibly be achievable if we would use other land spaces for other economic activity, provided if we could keep greed in….

Space is often seen as a sign of power. Else histrorically, countries and people wouldn’t want to wage wars to conquer more space for increasing political and economic might. To take away living spaces has a lot of conflicts of interests that we have to overcome. Cutting population growth is often seen as a way to solve overcrowding and many other human problems. But is a large population the main cause for depletion of natural resources? I doubt it. It could often be touted that the vice of misusing technology and knowhow is the main cause for unsustainable living. I often think that this is the most fundamental reason for our impending demise.

Don’t you think so?

Time for bed…as usual..

— Karen Fu….


  1. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore
  2. Straits Times article 17 August 2010

Thought I add this in from LinkedIn: US competitor in the next 10 years February 4, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in Uncategorized.
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Who is more likely to challenge the economic strength of the U.S. in the next 10 years? China or India? Why?

Asked by Jason Rodriguez

My public answer:

“I can’t even see the link… anyway I will answer from what your question asks: it is an interesting question if you put the time frame as a span of 10 years. If its 30-50 years, it could have been a different answer. So lets focus on what may be happening in the next 10 years. I think the US will still remain in dominance and lead in various areas of science and technology because it has a very superior foundation that cannot be taken away that easily. Unless there are few things happening: -natural disasters that befall the country that could bleed the nations resources. -further turmoil economically that cannot be salvaged effectively within the next few years; which will send the foreign talent in the US to move out or back to their native land. – social unrest and spike in crime. – unexpected challenges arising from warring states in the middle east or even from the north. – increase in unemployment rate – increase in social breakdown mainly due to economic hardship in a very bad way. Notwithstanding, China and India, if they share the above same problems will face similar predicaments. Despite so, even if they could control the current crisis well and maintain in positive growth, I don’t think they can beat the US within 10 years. Maybe in 20 or 30 years, with constant postive growth, improvement in their infrastructure and education; health and security. I do not know that much about india other than seeing the indians here on business. They are impressive people who can match with the Americans anytime. But the problem with their country is that the benefit from their rapid growth doesn’t spread uniformly throughtout the country. If they stand alone in groups like Mumbai, New Delhi, with other prospering cities, it could have put them up in a better situation. Comparatively, China has a better spread. I recently attend an arts event held by the mainland Chinese. Together with what I have seen so far, they are learning very quick. I don’t even think that English is their stumbling block given their hunger for knowledge. Last years Bejing Oylmpics somewhat showed their determination to come up as a strong nation despite the environmental odds and the negative press review. Considering that, I think China is very determine to make it. India is very well known for finance talent and software talent. A lot of able people at top international financial establishments. Their ability in technology especially in developing inexpensive products is also a force to reckon with. Both cultures are historically very vibrant. If they want to prosper and surpass the states, they must learn to create a sense of order. Especially political and social sense of order so that economically and politiaclly they can set up for greater ambitions. They also lack creativity and imagination when compared the States due to the lack of expressive freedom in thinking. If that grip is lessen, it will be a totally different story.