City of the Future: Singapore – Full Episode | National GeographicFeb 17, 2020
the paradigm has shifted the world is accelerating yesterday's science fiction is fast becoming today's science fiction will we weather the tectonic shifts in the world around us? to learn when information moves at the speed of light there are places ahead of the curve cities building the tools for tomorrow we want to create innovations that have real world impact one day
singaporecan be self-sufficient in the production of food we are watching the development of
singapore40 years in advance this
citycould be a model for what is to come this is the
futureof the world is in its urban environments more than half of the world's population lives in cities and that the number is growing this rapid influx of people creates possibilities but also creates challenges how can today's cities grow and prosper to become the places we want? want to live in tomorrow creating sustainable and manageable human spaces in the world's ever-expanding cities is a challenge facing governments around the world and no one understands the complexity of this challenge better than the planners at the housing and development board of singapore, the agency in charge of creating living spaces for about eighty percent of resident households in one of the most densely populated cities I am an architect by training and I also have a master's degree in planning so I have been a planning architect since 2010 The vision and Dr.
Chung's guidance has helped usher in a new era of smart public housing for the hdb, allowing the city it loves to grow and prosper despite significant challenges as an island city-state. We are only about half the size of the London metropolitan area. of course land and resources are very limited so that is the big challenge but having said that over the years we have managed to develop Singapore in a fairly sustainable way and we are one of the most inhabitable asia when dr chong was a girl singapore was a very different city had a third of the current population less than one percent of current gdp and little to no infrastructure in just over five years Yet for decades this small city- state has undergone a remarkable transformation. singapore hdb has built one million apartments creating one of the most successful public housing programs in the world. hdb is now looking for innovative high-tech solutions to not only provide enough living spaces for singaporean citizens, but also improve the quality of life for decades to come.
We have very sophisticated computer models that help the planning architect to improve the environmental quality in the city, for example, Singapore is in the tropics, so we want to encourage the breeze through the computer. simulation you can place the blocks and the public spaces in the parks in such a way that they help you achieve this singapore re does comprehensive planning in the very long term and that is very important you are looking at the development of singapore 40 years in advance and this is important because it ensures we have enough protected land to meet all our development needs singapore is planning decades in advance in a land-scarce nation the question is often not what to build but where to build singapore urban redevelopment authority he is in charge of identifying the future needs of all the lands of singapore it is the kind of challenge that appeals to the adventurous and curious i am a very urban person the city is close to my heart and even more so after having worked in detail on the plans over the past 20 years over the past 20 years for andrew and ura, sometimes that job means creating land from scratch, a process known as land reclamation since independence in 1965, singapore used reclamation to increase its land mass by about 23 percent, one of the most striking examples of this and perhaps a vision that the city Lo that everyone can embrace is singapore's marina bay, a vast engineering project that has been decades in the making. area development andrew was part of the team that drew up the plan for marina bay and translated it into reality its development dramatically increased singapore's footprint but was designed with the needs of its citizens in mind the traditional central business district only comprises so , the office space is only used from nine to five, five days a week, so as we have planned Marina Bay, we are also looking to incorporate complementary uses, so the idea is to create a mixed-use venue where activities are carried out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. seven days a week to run the marina bay model 24 hours a day the necessary ura infrastructure in the singaporean landscape which meant going underground using precisely engineered layers of essential services including w water and electricity tunnels pedestrian and commercial spaces transport infrastructure such as motorways and subways and even telecommunication superhighways these hidden underground systems have been designed to meet the needs of singapore for the next 50 years but some in singapore are looking beyond that already imagining the cities of the distant future In fact, I believe that the future of Singapore is not just about increasing density around the nodes of transport activity.
In fact, I think it's also about exploring air rights. Jason Pomeroy has grand visions for the city from him, the award-winning architect of Singapore's first zero. carbon house the bee house your designs are pushing the boundaries of what Singapore might look like 50+ years from now think about creating structures over roads over highways topping off existing structures today's rooftops could be playgrounds in the sky if the cities expanding upward into the skies conventional methods of road transport The transition may no longer be effective, perhaps the future of urban transport will play a significant role in shaping the way we live and then suddenly, you'll have to think about how to get people up there if you were going to do it. fast forward 50 years from now we already see drone technology getting so advanced why don't we just get people back into those drones a little bit like a racer? platform for your own custom drone although the idea of â€‹â€‹flying to work may be decades away drone technology is advancing rapidly and could become an integral part of the evolution of transportation in the cities of tomorrow in singapore the government has provided your support for an advanced program to test the limits of drone capabilities in the rapidly expanding urban environments of the world skyways is the airbus project that is exploring this domain of urban air delivery or basically ca rgo delivery project with drones the drone we are using is
fully customized or designed by our team here in singapore to ensure maximum safety in the air the drones have multiple aerospace grade navigation systems so if one system malfunctions others can be trusted to fly at your destination the packages that we can deliver by design today is up to four kilograms what we understand is that four kilograms would cover maybe 885 percent of all the packages that are parcel deliveries that are made today once the package has been delivered to its slot, the mailbox automatically sends a personalized code to the customer so that they can pick up the package 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. example skyways it's about enabling this technology it's about looking and moving towards a future where we have a flying form of transportation in an unread environment singap More innovators are imagining and experimenting with what's next for urban travel drone technology It may be the next revolution to free travelers from their two-dimensional journeys, but the challenges facing all of our cities may be more elemental than where we will build and how to get around providing food and water for the millions of people who will flock to our urban environments could Being the biggest challenge yet as urban populations increase, the world will face unprecedented challenges how to accommodate transportation and, most importantly, feed its people in the future as rural populations dwindle secure food the stability will be key in the singapore landscape is a challenge that is already being faced right now 93 of the produce is imported into singapore and that's because there simply isn't enough land for farming practices benjamin swann came to singapore as an engineer on the marina bay sands project but having fallen in love with the city he recognized a challenge and a ty opportunity to help the nation achieve its goal of food sustainability ben is developing a new way of growing food not only in singapore but in any urban setting sustanair is a controlled environment agro farm we effectively replicate what happens outside in the nature to grow impossible produce in impossible places singapore is a pioneer in this technology having opened the world's first commercial vertical farm in 2012 now sustainer through its proprietary processes can grow produce indoors with no sunlight and no soil what really What we have done is create our own system here to introduce go seas directly in the foam cubes, what it does is guarantee that we have a germination success of 100.
This room has been specially designed to take the plant from its initial germination to a mature state where we can introduce it into the culture rooms main large-scale grow rooms are amazing feats of agricultural technology precision calibration of the gr This environment allows these new-age farmers to optimize cultivation at every stage of plant growth. grow rooms sustaineer is creating food history first strawberries grown in singapore we are actually growing three varieties in this room what we have learned through controlled environment farming we can emphasize certain characteristics of the plants so without using gmo we can make our kale softer We can actually make it sweet.
A lot of Singaporeans don't like their produce to be bitter, so we took it to our research lab and what we found was manipulating the temperature and humidity of the air and also the wavelength of light and growth cycles. . we were able to create this great product that we are growing today not only is this farm capable of producing vegetables p Perfectly calibrated for Singaporeans, but the techniques could provide vital agricultural areas for the densely populated cities of the future. Traditional land farming grows produce outdoors in a flat linear area. Sustania's system grows food inside any building.
Expansion of agriculture's footprint towards the sky. what it means for places like singapore that has little or little land is that we can take advantage of buildings to grow produce and with the efficiencies we have within our footprint we believe one day we will be able to produce enough produce indoors to stay cool in singapore map available food will be a necessity in our cities not only to feed citizens but also to keep them healthy as populations age and the incidence of diabetes continues to rise across the developed world singapore as all cities need to encourage its citizens to eat well and smartly i wanted to implement food and drink well as a tool to manage it could be health it could be us llness it could be performance and of course also for fitness believe it or not these sculptures colorful are edible, they are creations of dr lee man wai, a scientist ific of the food resource and innovation center of singapore polytechnic using the latest advances in technology that he is creating.
Food tailored to the exact caloric and nutritional needs of Singaporean seniors. We wanted to look at personalized nutrition for a growing target population, so we basically started looking at people with different lifestyles or otherwise people with different health conditions to do it. vision dr lee collaborated with bioengineer mark wong to build a piece of wearable technology that can monitor a person's nutritional requirements what we have developed here at singapore polytechnic is what we call the interception system has a factor in a way to see the app from which you pull data from the handheld device so that this data can be fed into algorithms to calculate individual nutrients that are customized for the individual so that a 3D printer can use this data and print the appropriate nutrient values â€‹â€‹for that individual.
Dr. Lee's system is one of the first of its kind toSingapore and perhaps the world to combine wearable technology with 3D Printing to create food with personalized nutritional values. This particular printer has a beautiful way of letting us customize the nutrition, so there should probably be some chicken rice that's really high in calcium, some that are really good for potassium, and different kinds of vitamins and minerals that you're used to while still an experimental prototype the potential is amazing this gelatin packs a punch with the nutrients needed to optimize health and even prevent disease with larger data sets from each individual we can now create a complete library or database and identify trends by using machine learning or the use of artificial intelligence, so it is extremely powerful in the near future to be able to predict potential health issues and mitigate those health issues in population centers before events occur through the imaginative planning and technological innovation singapore is enc Finding new ways to house and feed its growing population, but perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing any global city will be ensuring a steady and secure supply of most resource pressures Singapore water currently uses 2 billion liters of water a day the most efficient source of fresh water is rain and to capitalize on this resource the nation crisscrosses an extensive network of rivers and canals that channel every last precious drop of rain into 17 storage reservoirs around two thirds of singapore it is a water catchment area which is about 400 square kilometers or more so water that falls into the catchment area will find its way to our drains and canals which are connected to one of our reservoirs the singapore catchment system it is extensive and efficient but to collect rainwater you need land and a lot of singapore is a small island so it is We are limited in terms of the catchment area that we have and also now with changing weather patterns rainwater is a bit unpredictable so we have moved to more weather resistant water sources such as desalination, as the world heats up, all cities need to find new solutions to provide clean water for their citizens in singapore the public services board is already looking to the future experimenting with new techniques to boost the water potential of the little red dot looking ahead future our cities need to overcome a variety of challenges rapid urbanization will present problems of growth, housing and food sustainability, but none can be more crucial than access to fresh water, singapore currently imports around half of its daily water requirement in the next three decades, although the objective is to guarantee the sustainability of the water to do it planners are looking for a resource that the island nation has in abundance, seawater.
I always call this a new toy, it really is kind of a toy for us, but seriously, it's a plant designed with robustness, reliability, it's
fully automated. hugh kitsan oversaw the construction of a new state -state of the art water facility the tuas desalination plant we have been working on this project for the last little over two or years to get it from a green field and up to the state that they see right behind me a functional 30 million gallon per day desalination plant the twas desalination plant is a modern marvel of precision engineering in the singapore landscape its footprint is just 100 meters by 300 meters which is about the size of three football pitches this may seem big but it is a relatively small footprint compared to plants of this type around the world when we did the design at build it was quite a challenge where you have to make sure they are all stacked and arranged as if they were lego pieces that all fit very well in a puzzle and form the plant what you see today despite its small size the plant Desalination plant houses one of the most powerful technologies in the world to produce fresh water from reverse osmosis filters from the seed which is actually the heart of the plant where the salt in the seawater is separated or removed from the water in the white tubes there are the re Reverse osmosis membrane where the filtered water will be pushed through the membrane.
This high-tech process is a key part of preparing Singapore for the future, but conventional water desalination consumes a lot of energy. The electricity you would need to desalinate enough water for just one day of Singapore's needs. could power singaporean homes for a thousand years to save energy and reduce the cost of water desalination the pub is now investing in new research evoqua is a company working on tomorrow's desalination process we are demonstrating our next ed technology for the seawater desalination electrodialysis uses electricity To remove salt from seawater, pairs of electrodes are placed in a stream of saltwater with one positive and one negative electrode.
Positively charged sodium ions are attracted to the negative electrode and negatively charged chlorine ions are attracted to the positive electrode. This concentrates the salt. around the electrodes the process is repeated until th The water has no salt we are now building a demonstration plan with a capacity of 3800 cubic meters per day we have plans to further expand this technology with a capacity of 100 000 cubic meters per day Singapore's housing innovations give us food and water a glimpse of how a forward-thinking city could solve some of the challenges it faces, but these solutions will come at a quick price, secure and prosperous economies will be essential to weather a uncertain future and perhaps no nation understands this better than Singapore the financial sector is a very very critical sector for Singapore almost 12 per cent of our GDP comes from the sector so you understand how important it is for us to make sure that the industry is a dynamic industry, be competitive, attract the best possible ideas as the director of fintech of the aut singapore money ority swapnandu mahanti needs to make sure the nation sets a global standard for the financial sector this comes down to one thing technology inno vation most services and the financial sector will be technology driven by 2016 singapore announced the ubin project a new fintech experiment using blockchain technology traditionally banks keep a record of all transactions in their own centralized ledger which is susceptible to manipulation by hackers but the ubin project keeps all records on a chain of blocks, which means that identical copies of the ledger are kept on a distributed network of computers around the world.
These computers check with each other to make sure their copy of the ledger is correct if one of the copies is not. match the others, it is rejected and replaced with a copy that most ledgers agree is correct to manipulate the blockchain to steal money a hacker would need to hack most computers on the network simultaneously a virtual impossibility the real killer use case is a cross border transfer nowadays it takes two to three days to move money between two countries all of it is transfer So if we can apply a technology like blockchain it may give us the opportunity to reduce the time to make cross-border transfers and can also reduce expenses when moving money from one country to a large country.
Singapore has long been known as a financial country. hub that houses the main banks from around the world with the ubin project singapore has made sure to stay at the forefront when it comes to fintech in a country with scarce natural resources, the motto is innovate or die and singapore has taken on that challenge with a start-up culture catapults the nation into the future ideas are one of the intangible resources that drive cities singapore capitalizes on the nation's creative DNA to support and usher in a new wave of Innovative Startups One of the largest startup hubs is the St. inno sparks we focus on solving some of the urban challenges, particularly solutions in smart cities, as well as healthcare technology, medical technology is a global business of 350 billion dollars industry that thrives on the latest ideas starting lineup such as the alango's revolutionary automated needle orientation system with final system we are able to automate the entire needle alignment process making it very stress free for clinicians who can align the needle to the target in a fraction.
At the moment it is more precise, more than just a surgical assistant. Alan's robot can help train the next generation of surgeons. Usually, for surgeons to be experts in terms of punctures, he has to puncture more than 150 times, but with a smart device. junior automated surgeons probably only required 40-50 punctures and could be experts in the field of punctures innosparx has also been instrumental in developing life-saving technologies to solve global health problems my name is jerome i am the chief engineer at inno sparks and I'm also the lead engineer for the air plasma mask, so we actually started development of the project in 2013 when Singapore was hit with severe haze.
During the 2013 Southeast Asia haze crisis, the Large-scale forest fires blanketed the region in impenetrable smog that shattered all records and pollution indices. The stores sold out. High quality air filtration masks. we actually went to do a 3D facial scan of over 850 children and adults and then using a proprietary algorithm we developed in-house, we created three sizes of masks that fit children, adults and the elderly using thermal imaging the benefits of these masks Zooming in, we can see that the mask itself actually remains quite purple. This is a quick way to show that the fan is indeed effective at ventilating heat from the mask, whilst being a vital part of the Singapore economy.
The tech scene is not just about software or hardware in essence it's about hardware that provides its citizens we want to create innovations that have an impact in the real world so we take a very high percentage of the user ered approach the digital economy of singapore is delivering real, tangible benefits to people and some of its brightest inventors are focusing on the far future local startup transferfy has developed technology that could change the way we think about electricity wireless power transfer it is inherently capable of transferring energy wirelessly we are using radio frequency to be able to transfer energy in terms of the construction behind it are electromagnetic waves essentially energy within a waveform the custom built transmitter converts electrical current into electromagnetic waves using a complex algorithm this wave is modul ada and focused into a narrow beam transmitted to an array of antennas using radio frequency the receiver picks up the radio frequency waves and converts them into direct current which is capable of powering electrical devices the system is ready now so the signal is now being generated i think that now we are ready to turn on the t5 logo power amplifier there it is on now it turns on with no wire threading no batteries nothing nothing its all power through the air this simple demo gives an idea of â€‹â€‹the enormous potential of the system as the technology spreads over greater distances it could revolutionize all electricity dependent industries creating the world's first long range secure and efficient wireless power networks there are many uses i.e. it is ubiquitous technology and you can use wireless power transfer distribution for just about anything from electronics to consumption to medical devices, offshore renewables and sensors you know for automation.
Singapore's digital startups are dreaming up ingenious new technology that shows that perhaps the greatest resource needed in the future is imagination in the super-connected smart cities of tomorrow every aspect of our lives could be affected by the ever-changing world digital technology shift preparing the next generation for this future is best for most educators today in singapore preparing ation starts early using technology tools to teach children the building blocks of a digital mindset, including most basic skill needed to code sequential learning sequential learning seemseasy for us adults, but actually it's not easy at all for them to know who comes first and who comes next, ok kids we're going to go there, then we're going to find your dry leaves and then we're going to put them in your basket, okay, come on, I feel like there are a lot of skills they can acquire. of having the tech toys too, yeah learning problem solving skills, communication skills, language skills and also learning how to solve sequential problems too one two three four we need to press four steps good job the playmaker program there are three tech toys the b board is something that is very friendly and very easy to operate because there are only a few buttons for kids to use, for example we have forward, backward, turn left and turn right button. ow, some people, I would say that's a bit fancy thinking, whereby the kids will have to sequence the block first, put it in order, and scan the barcode so that Kimbo won't work if they don't start. with a start block and end with the end block, so during that time the kids can do some trial and error to see if it works or not.
These tech toys introduce kids to advanced learning concepts by doing so, they are arming future generations of Singaporeans with the necessary skills for computer programming and literacy without exposing them to too much screen time, this dynamic new approach to Education is vitally important to parents helping prepare their children for the workplaces of the future. I have three children, they are 12 11 years old. and the youngest is four years old, since I am in the finance line, the current way forward is fintech, worrying about how my children will cope with the new change, and their professional strength has always been there definitely. and I think these tools will really help kids prepare for the workforce in the future because we're actually building the foundation, for example, the foundation of language the foundation of problem solving the foundation of communication with people the Technological literacy is not just a challenge for new generations As populations around the world age, the need to become digitally literate affects all age groups.
Singapore is tackling this issue head-on with proactive efforts to provide technology education to all of its citizens, ensuring that no one is left unconnected. The journey to digital fluency took place in a clinic. By the Overseas Singapore Information and Communications Media Development Authority Singapore's approach to empowering all its citizens for the future is to foster a highly educated, versatile and connected population Connectivity and community will shape the world of tomorrow and in singapore that sense of community is already revealing itself in surprising new ways as we race towards a future that will be dominated by technology for decades to come dedicated citizens will find ways to harness that technology to make a positive impact improving lives to innovation creative in singapore technology is already being created that will care for the nation's most vulnerable we try to provide sleep well-being for newborn babies and also for premature babies.
Hello how are you? well your baby is sleeping when a baby sleeps he has a lot of periodic breathing which means he breathes and stops breathing and stops breathing now this happened to two percent of newborn babies but it happened to 60 percent of premature babies periodic breathing dramatically reduces oxygen flow, which can have a detrimental effect on the baby's growth and even cognitive development the optical breathing system uses fiber optic technology to help monitor this for frank this project is personal I think one of the reasons we invented this product was because 24 years ago I had premature sun at that time I bought everything that was available to try to control the baby and actually for a month my wife and I didn't we slept late in the same room because we took a 12 hour shift to watch the baby so we took turns watching my son for a while so when i could We are going to use optical technology fiber optic technology to create such a sensor we really know what we want because I was in that position before and his son is fine now oh my side is perfect just live and kick and well the spirit of using technological ingenuity to improve life has been built in the city itself with green corridors and protected parks that prevent Singapore from becoming a concrete jungle in its efforts to preserve and protect its status as a city in a garden and parks it is employing the power of technology so one of the tools we use is called the sg bioatlas app it's a free citizen science based app where everyone can download and you could record the wildlife things you see in singapore could be in your park it could be in the forest in singapore and using this data you can develop some conservation or management strategies is where we might conserve certain habitats bitats or protecting certain green spaces the app is empowering singaporeans to play an important role in conserving and protecting the city's amazing biodiversity those birds there are the full jungle they are like chickens but they are technically i'm not a coward true i am a working mom during the day i will usually be working and at night i will probably be on my couch watching tv i spend most of my time on the phone watching youtube playing games its not just the citizen science program that helps kids -parks to maintain singapore's rich ecosystem but also help people make connections to green spaces and each other singapore is land scarce so what we need is to preserve what we have now and use whatever technology we can provide feedback to the
nationalpark on the species we still have in singapore as the modern world progresses r Moving rapidly towards urbanization, our future cities will face unprecedented pressures experienced innovation and technological advances will help bring about profound change in the way we live, how we work and how we learn in singapore that change is already underway it feels like if we were part of building and creating a singapore that is vibrant, safe and also sustainable for the people now and also for the future if we can do it here in singapore we can do it literally anywhere in the world and we are excited almost every day we are motivated by the fact that we can really make a difference i heard from one nobel prize winner only a prepared mind can see the opportunity and we are seizing this opportunity preparing for you
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