STRATEGIES FOR OPTIMISING THE SPATIAL ORGANISATION OF HIGH-DENSITY URBAN AREAS
Interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between density and liveability with focus on the use, and appropriation of common spaces in Singapore high-rise housing
National economic growth combined with forward strategic planning have been instrumental in the shaping of Singapore’s residential architecture since the early 1960s. As a result, Singapore’s already limited land area now comes under increasing pressure. The situation demands ever-greater optimisation of land use at urban, site and building scales. This, in turn, places pressure on the balance between functional effectiveness and liveability of the everyday built fabric. Common spaces play a pivotal role in maintaining this balance. First, through their capacity to structure interaction of inhabitants, such spaces have a regulatory effect on the sense of density in the immediate dwelling environment. Second, common spaces positively impact on the liveable quality of domestic spaces, independent of standards of living of the residents.
The ETH Chair of Architecture and the Building Process, together with ETH Centre for Research on Architecture, Society & the Built Environment (CASE), aim to collaborate with relevant Singapore-based institutions to develop an interdisciplinary strategy for exploring significant housing typologies that have emerged over the past fifty years in Singapore. A set of four empirical case studies, focused on different HDB housing estates, will combine quantitative analysis of building and site characteristics with qualitative ethnographic methods. By investigating the quantitative characteristics and spatial organisation of the building and its site, and correlating this to the role of common spaces, we seek to gain greater understanding of the liveability of cities. This gives rise to a set of specific issues concerning the way of common spaces are constituted, used and appropriated, and how this impacts on the overall liveability of particular estates. The anticipated findings of this study have the potential to contribute to the design and production of housing in Singapore as well as other high density living contexts.