Building an Urban Forest reconsiders the spatial, ecological, biological, and metaphorical construct of the “urban forest” in Singapore. Through a condense reading of cases, the studio will equip
students with a contemporary understanding of current disciplinary’s use of “urban forest”. Identifying distinction of practices who uses the vocabulary of the urban forest as metaphors and spatial qualities, practices who explore forest elements for their cultural and productive function, or practices who use the forest to set ambitious goals to mitigate detrimental impacts of urbanization through establishing a biologically diverse ecology. Equipped with language within this discourse, each student project will be able to make conscious their goals of building an urban forest.
The studio will start by postulating that vibrant urban living and thriving biodiversity can coexist onsite. This is a fundamental shift in thinking from current practice, where biodiversity losses are “offset” somewhere else in or outside the city. For the first third of the semester, the studio will map existing habitat and ecological processes on site, to establish an understanding of interdependence of networks in place. The establishment of this baseline allows each student to formulate ecological objectives proposed for their site. The following third of the semester, students are to confront the prevailing notion that urban biodiversity and urban development objectives are often competing. They are tasked to produce a series of urban analysis through collaboration with the urban data platform, DigitalBlueFoam, to formulate a mutually benefiting pairing of the stated ecological goals with commercial programs. In the last third of the semester, students will focus on developing novel structures and infrastructures that aim to meet each project’s specific set of composite goals. The designed proposed built‐environment that is calibrated to Singapore’s equatorial climate will then be used as a stage to envision a diverse human–nature interactions that enrich urban living.