Proposal for An Urban Wildlife ‘Edu-sanctuary’

Commentary / 3rd Quarter 2023

Proposal for An Urban Wildlife ‘Edu-sanctuary’

September 20, 2023

Singapore, especially post-independence, has transformed its landscape of sprawling farmlands into an urban cityscape. About 80 per cent of the population lives in public housing, where each unit can only legally own one dog of an approved breed. This suggests that the ratio of animal to human interaction or familiarity amongst the majority of the populace has been limited, to say the least.

With an increased awareness of mental wellness, better understanding of animal-human dynamics, and implications of an ageing population, Singapore has begun to explore novel approaches of healthcare through animal-assisted interactions (AAI) with the help of animals such as cats, dogs and horses.

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Aside from AAI being advantageous to human health, the mutual benefits include improved care and well-being for both people and animals. This approach is being explored alongside prioritising ecologically sensitive areas in Singapore for preservation, reconnecting sporadic terrestrial habitats and re-educating the public about interacting with animals and wildlife.

This proposal entitled BIOTOPIA aims to develop a sanctuary that allows for safe human-animal interactions, coexisting harmoniously within the local ecosystem.

The process begins with evaluating current vacant lands in proximity to specific target groups, using geographic software like QGIS and generative algorithms such as in Grasshopper, and assessing their potential to be part of an ecological corridor.

Four possible intervention opportunities were identified: Bukit Timah; Labrador Nature Reserve; MacRitchie Reservoir; and Tagore. The Tagore site was selected as it has two discrete green-blue environments that can be connected with the Central Catchment Reserve.

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Site Area
17,330 square metres

This proposal was a submission of FuturArc Prize 2023 by Diane Lee. As someone who is fascinated by domesticated animals and wildlife, Lee pursues her keen interest in designing spatial experiences that benefit both humans and animals. Growing up in a highly urbanised environment, she sees the need to rethink how society can rebuild its relationship with Nature while balancing societal needs.

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Read more stories from FuturArc 3Q 2023 Green Awards: Cross-Generational Architecture!


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