ARCHIDEX 2021: Fast Forward Live Talks Present Solutions for Greener City Living

4th Quarter 2021

ARCHIDEX 2021: Fast Forward Live Talks Present Solutions for Greener City Living

December 14, 2021

As part of ARCHIDEX 2021’s Fast Forward live talks, held from 4–6 November 2021, speakers shared their designs and reflections on the ongoing health crisis and how to make adjustments for a post-pandemic world.

The crucial role of urban green spaces was emphasised, not just from an environmental perspective, but also for the mental health of people who have been facing social distancing and public space restrictions. Dr Shureen Faris, Associate Professor at Universiti Putra Malaysia, presented her research on the effects of the first lockdown on seven low-cost housing schemes in Kuala Lumpur, which was intended to identify the ways in which the movement control order could be improved. Among the findings was that vehicle parking situations became more crowded as residents had no mobility—even green spaces and playgrounds were used up for parking. Work and schooling activities were also hampered in the cramped living spaces, sometimes spilling out to the common corridors. This resulted in suggestions for authorities to regulate park usage, at the same time upgrading maintenance standards and improving its design to be used as an extension of people’s living spaces.

The changes in spatial use are further spurred by a mix of the physical and virtual. Alfred Lee Fei Chong, Director of STX Landscape Architects, tied digitalisation to the need to reform landscapes: “The landscape trend nowadays is much more about science and technology. The ways we live, work and play are changing to be more decentralised and regionalised.”

Trends of urban city planning in light of the pandemic are exemplified in ideas such as ’15-minute cities’ as presented by Juita Wan Hashim, Founder and Director of Verona Designs. “Everything is reachable within 15 minutes, and this has been more popular with the increasing demands of a flexible, remote life.” The core services of health care, education and urban parks should be digitalised with telecommunication and services such as online booking. If these services are designed within walking distance, it would reduce reliance on vehicles and help lower vehicle emissions. As cities and industries redraw their road map with new strategies, these kinds of long-term thinking to prevent future health and climate crises need to be adopted and adapted to more widely.

The forums were conducted on ARCHIDEX Online, a one-stop digital platform that encompassed a virtual exhibition showcase, webinar series, awards and more events from 4 October to 10 December 2021. With an offline event rescheduled for the upcoming year, ARCHIDEX will continue the hybrid experience for industry professionals and the architectural community to connect.

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