Thursday, 12 March 2015


ST has this site for sharing ideas about what Singapore would be like in 50 years time - in 2065.

In other words, what would the Singapore To Be (Singapore 2B) be like?

Go take a look at the ideas of some Singaporeans.


The homes of the future will be a mix of private and shared spaces - why own a kitchen when you only cook 2 times a week? Just as condos share gyms, reading room, function rooms, playground, swimming pool, BBQ pits, etc. we can also share the kitchen, the washing machine (laundromats), and the study? You only really need to own the bedroom and washroom.

And as eating out regularly is part of our lifestyle, a viable and affordable hawker ecology is essential. We should bring the hawker centre into our shared space and let residents have a greater say and control over their hawker centre.

So, at the ground floor is a collectively-owned (by the residents) coffee shop or canteen. Residents get to select and recruit the best hawkers and mix of hawkers to create the coffee shop they want, with the stalls they want, who will charge prices the residents will find reasonable.

(Personal aside: There was a good prata stall in the coffee shop at my block when I moved in many years ago. Over the years, the coffee shop changed hands about 5 times. Each time the prata stall managed to survive and continue, albeit with higher rentals and increased prices. Or rather for the first 3 times, the hawker managed to hang on. But the fourth time was too much. They called it quits and I lost "my" prata stall.)

Hawkers and Residents (via a committee) will negotiate the rental, the operating hours, the prices (for residents) and minimum serving sizes. For non-residents, the hawkers will be free to charge "market rates".

Residents may also negotiate special services, like meal deliveries by the hawkers for elderly residents. They may appoint the drinks vendor as the "manager" to oversee this service.

Living rooms with Home Entertainment Centres will be increasingly rare as entertainment becomes increasingly personal and portable - iPad, tablets, smartphones. Large (private) home entertainment centres will be "must haves" for only the true aficionados.

Shared entertainment centres may be the better option. Residents would gather at the common TV/Media Room to watch the World Cup. Or the F1 race. Or the National Day Rally. Or the National Da Parade. Common space will be for socialising (watching the World Cup) or serve as new shared space: reading/studying rooms, dining room and kitchens, and laundry room.

Flats and apartments will be "combin-able". Units can be separate for single living (One room, one bath/toilet), or reconfigured to larger units to meet changing demands. So all flats may well be one-room, but you could combine 2 or 3 for a 2 or 3-bedder home when you get married, and have kids. (and when the kids are older and get married, you can re-separate the units.)

"Office space" may also be a thing of the past. In the future, many jobs will allow people to work from wherever they want or need. "Business Centres" (like in hotels) could be available for telecommuters (if this is necessary). "Meeting rooms" may simply be teleconferencing rooms. But really, one could just "Facetime" or Video-Skype or use some such app. If you are at home and there is a mess, I'm sure there is an app to conceal your background.

So your apartment is your home and workplace and this cuts down on commuting (and the need to own vehicles). You log on to go to work - your bed folds up to reveal your desk or workspace. You submit your work by email, or you might all just work off wiki documents or the office wiki-space. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can go down to the coffee shop to eat, or you can have food delivered, or you can prepare or cook the meal yourself in the shared kitchen.

If you want to have a dinner party, you just book the dining room, the BBQ pit, and the kitchen (as necessary) for the evening.Or you order from the coffee shop.

Eat Local

Vertical farms can produce more vegetables for Singapore. Couple this with Aquaponics - the hybrid of aquaculture (fish farming), and hydroponics (soil-less vegetable farming in water) - and vertical farms can grow vegetables and rear fish for food. (The target is for SG to be self-sufficient in Fish by 15%, vegetables by 10%.)

Meat may become a delicacy or rarity in the future. If enviromental consideration reduces meat farming because of the  damage to the environment, the water footprint of the food, and perhaps even climate change (current ranches too hot to support livestock). Or China may just suck up most of the supply as their population becomes more affluent.

One solution is cuniculture. Raising rabbits for meat in an urban environment is quite feasible.Rabbits are prolific breeders, reach maturity quickly, does not require much space, and does not produce very much waste, smell, or noise pollution. They are thus suitable for rearing in say, HDB flats. In fact, cuniculture can also support aquaponics - rabbit droppings can be fish food.

The problem is... Singapore doesn't have a tradition of eating rabbits.

Rabbit curry. Rabbit pau. Rabbit Curry Puff. Chilli Rabbit. Rabbit Rendang. Laksa Rabbit. All these have to be invented.

Also, it is one thing to buy meat from a supermarket. It is another thing to raise and slaughter your own livestock.

(Lab-grown meat is a possible solution... if people can accept it. The alternative protein source: insects. And suddenly slaughtering your own rabbits seem more... normal.)

Vegetable farming may be more acceptable emotionally, but even with vertical farming or hydroponics (or even aeroponics), this is not something the average Singaporean in a HDB flat would have the space to do or the expertise to do (as opposed to rabbit farming).

Chicken farming? Waste and odour pollution makes this not feasible for flats. Also all it takes is a wave of bird flu and this "industry" will be wiped out.

Fish-farming? - Also not suitable for HDB flats. Vertical Aquaponics is a capital-intensive industry, which could also have cuniculture as a parallel farming.

BUT, a community farm owned by residents may be viable. If it can be affordable. If Residents are to own the coffee shop and a community farm, the cost of these will have to be incorporated into the price of their flats or apartments. This may be feasible/viable, but it will depend on the costing and how the costs are shared. A community farm would be run mainly with volunteers from the resident.s


Public transport system will reach almost every part of Singapore. Together with more telecommuting and working from wherever instead of an office, cars will almost be unnecessary. With the ageing population, the public transit will also have to be more elder-friendly.

Driver-less taxis may provide door-to-door transport for those with mobility issues.

Taxi drivers will have to reinvent themselves/ their service, perhaps providing extra service to compete with driverless taxis. Driverless taxis may operate like Uber.

But the simple proliferation of driverless cars with Uber-like apps means that a driverless car would be more than a personal transport, it can be a personal shuttle or taxi. It becomes a source of income for the owner as it can be used as a taxi, or a delivery vehicle. Now, even your local chicken rice hawker can make deliveries.

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