Architecture of the Sharing Culture

by NUS TSHINGHUA Design Research Initiative

In a sharing culture, individuals participate in sustained practices of togetherness characterised by the co-creation, co-management, co-ownership and co-consumption of resources. Architecture of the sharing culture enables us to reinvent ourselves together towards liveability and sustainability amidst the limitations of resources.

Collaborative Maker's Hub

In view of the boom of sharing economy in Singapore, we envision the future Tanjong Pagar harbour as an experiment neighbourhood for testing, analysing and evaluating different forms of participation and sharing that can be promoted in the high-density, tropical urban environment. Everyone in the neighbourhood, including residents, workers, visitors, etc., are seen as a potential participant in certain activities that will ultimately produce meaningful sharing. Our aim is to imagine how different forms of participation and sharing can be related and orchestrated to create a coherent community.

We created an integrated system for a new town development in Tanjong Pagar harbor and associated architectural design. The scheme included four subsystems: 1) A co-production system making full use of food waste in urban farming and bonding community by collaborative farming and cooking. 2) A co-creating and co-making system to revitalize traditional skills and encourage entrepreneurship. 3) A co-working system with a project-based environment, enterprise capitalization and open education opportunities. 4) A co-living system providing customizable spaces of different scales to encourage shared living.

Sharing Downtown Cooperative

This project focuses on the Pearl's Hill region, which locates on the edge of the downtown core and beside Chinatown historic district. Surrounding the long-history community there are mixed urban fabrics with various social groups, but somehow fragmented in the past urban development. Pearl's Hill is a precious urban greenspace in the region but remains underutilized for a long time. The community is also featured by People's Park Complex, a modernism landmark, which is overlapped with last year's studio. Facing complicated social and spatial contexts, this studio attempts to explore how the sharing programs can help to solve some of the community's problems.

The scheme aims for an ecosystem of on-demand spaces to empower the community through participative activities. We identify multiple stakeholders, including senior residents, students, visitors and external partners, who collaborate in diverse programs, like urban farming, community kitchen, workshops and education. The design brings vigor streets, human-scale blocks, and multi-mode transport infrastructures. We hope to build better connections within and surrounding the community, in order to support residents’ travel, leisure and communication. Many important buildings, including HDB, People’s Park Complex, hawker centers and car-parks are schematically redesigned for better support collaborative programs and achieve the public good.

The Feeding Border

The Straits of Johor, which forms the border between Singapore and Malaysia, has never ceased to be a site of power contestation, rendering the waterscape into terra nullius. In view of the fast-changing international geopolitical environment, this study attempts to explore the possibilities of transforming the border of separation into a shared territory that can facilitate cooperation between Singapore and Johor, a state of Malaysia, achieving common economic growth, greater social cohesion, and higher competence of the region.

Tackling food security, a pressing issue for both Singapore and Johor, this design research proposes to turn the Strait of Johor into a shared urban infrastructure for food production. It is hoped to maximize the positive externalities through addressing a series of bilateral issues arising from the separation, such as physical connections, land reclamation, water dispute, etc. Moreover, this study also aims to raise a critique on the current global food industry, which is mostly controlled by the hegemonic force of neoliberal capitalism. Through phased comprehensive masterplan and design of adaptable architecture, it demonstrates how governments can possibly leverage capitalist corporates, turning their profit-making intentions into catalysts for achieving broader social objectives – creating a cross-border commons.

Empowering Interfaces

Singapore's urban policies is effected according to the planning zones set out in the master plan. As such, the interfaces between districts are often neglected and end up segregating the urban fabric. In addition, our transportation network is drawn in accordance with the masterplan, where urban highways and major roads often overlap with the planning boundaries. As a result, urban highways become the demarcation line between districts, disrupting the networks within our society. However, interfaces between districts, at the junction of diverse resources and communities, should be explored as prime opportunities for collaboration.

Located in between the existing CBD and future greater southern waterfront development, the Keppel viaduct is identified as a major boundary in the existing landscape. It is at the intersection of many communities aside from the CBD - Outram, Bukit Merah and Tiong Bahru. Tapping on food waste as a common resource, the thesis proposes to spatialize the Keppel Viaduct as a landscape of collaboration to generate new shared opportunities for local startups through idea prototyping and food production. This could be in the form of upcycling food waste into new resources such as community 3D printing filament, algae farming, bio-energy and building materials.

Find out more about NUS- Tsinghua Design Research Initiative here