ETH Zurich’s Singapore-ETH Centre and the Future Cities Laboratory

The Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC) in Singapore was established as a collaboration between the National Research Foundation of Singapore and ETH Zurich in 2010. It is an institution that frames a number of research programmes, the first of which is the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL). The SEC strengthens the capacity of Singapore and Switzerland to research, understand and actively respond to the challenges of global environmental sustainability. It is motivated by an aspiration to realise the highest potentials for present and future societies. SEC serves as an intellectual hub for research, scholarship, entrepreneurship, postgraduate and postdoctoral training. It actively collaborates with local universities and research institutes and engages researchers with industry to facilitate technology transfer for the benefit of the public.

I have been involved in Future Cities Laboratory since my return from UCSB in October 2008, and was the second PI to move to Singapore in October 2010, at that time located at temporary offices at the NUS School of Design and Environment. Main tasks included general ramp up of the centre, establishing technical infrastructure, hiring and supervision of PhD students. In January 2012, SEC moved into its permanent offices at the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE). I was responsible for the design and implementation of the [[ValueLabAsia |Value Lab Asia]], which was built in only three months and has been in operation since March 2012.

The Simulation Platform Research Module (“Module IX”): Service and Research for Future Planning Environments

Informing design and decision-making processes with new techniques and approaches to data acquisition, information visualisation and simulation for urban sustainability.

In science, simulations have assumed a critical role in mediating between theory and practical experiment. In architecture, simulations increasingly function in a similar way to help integrate the design, construction, and lifecycle management of buildings. And in urban planning, simulations have become an indispensable method for generating and analysing design and planning scenarios. The growing importance of simulation for these fields has been stimulated by a rapid growth in the availability of urban-related data. Despite this, most current simulations are capable of capturing and activating only a small fraction of the available data. Addressing this lack is both a matter of generating appropriate computer power to process the vast bodies of data, and accessing the data itself that is often held in hard to access databases. To contemplate possible advanced urban planning techniques that activate live and dynamic data, demonstrates that existing tools, such as GIS, are ill equipped to exploit the analytical and communicative potentials of this growing volume of urban data.

The Simulation Platform examines how to effectively deal with the growing volume of urban-related data. It investigates new techniques and instruments for the acquisition, organisation, retrieval, interaction, and visualisation of such data. It will propose techniques for designers, decision-makers and stakeholders to access necessary data about the city in innovative and dynamic ways. It does in two ways. First, it supports other research modules in the Future Cities Laboratory by supplying services such as data acquisition methods and visualisation facilities. Second, building on these services it will conduct original research on advanced and dynamic modelling, visualisation and simulation techniques that aim to better understand and intervene in the complex processes that shape contemporary cities.

Module Leader & PI: Prof Dr Gerhard Schmitt
Module Coordinator & PI: Assoc Prof (Adj) Dr Stefan Müller Arisona
PIs: Prof Dr Armin Grün, Prof Dr Ludger Hovestadt, Prof Dr Ian Smith
Affiliated Faculty: Assoc Prof Dr Tat Jen Cham (NTU), Assoc Prof Dr Chandra Sekhar (NUS), Assoc Prof Dr Ian McLoughlin (NTU), Asst Prof Dr Philip Chi-Wing Fu, Asst Prof Dr Benny Raphael (NUS), Prof Dr Luc Van Gool (ETH Zurich), Asst Prof Dr Jianxin Wu (NTU)
PostDocs: Dr Matthias Berger, Dr Xianfeng Huang, Dr Tao Wang
PhD Students: Gideon Aschwanden, Dengxin Dai, Eva Friedrich, Vahid Moosavi, Maria Papadopoulou, Rongjun Qin, Dongyoun Shin, Sing Kuang Tan, Didier Vernay, Wei Zeng, Chen Zhong
IT Engineers: Daniel Sin, Chan Lwin