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Self-sufficient Singapore?

IEN took part in the crit of the Integrated Sustainable Design (ISD) M.Sc. program by the NUS Department of Architecture in collaboration with WOHA architects. The interesting task: To design Singapore to be self-sufficient with energy, water and food.

There is immense value in the work produced by the students, because they do a great job of conceptualising as well as quantifying on different scales (the building, neighbourhood and precinct scale) that Singapore - through proper planning and systems thinking - can become self-sufficient with energy, water and food (vegetables and fish only; meat not considered), while at the same time improving the city environment in terms of more greenery and amble public space. This should be able to catch the attention of policy makers - and spur them to action!

The profound conclusions of the ISD crit are:

  • Singapore has much untapped potential for better use of its land

  • Singapore can show the way for getting cities right

  • City states like Singapore can potentially be self-sufficient with energy, water and food

In a rapidly urbanising World, it is fair to assume that drawing on Singapore's sustainable city planning will be very sought after across the World.


The high quality work produced by the ISD studio is the result of a well thought out and well structured ISD program, the brainchild of Dr. Nirmal Kishnani. The students can draw upon the work from several years of previous crits of a systems-thinking approach to planning. The students also benefit from the direct involvement of Architect Wong Mun Summ, co-founder of arguably the most impactful innovative green architectural practice, WOHA, in Singapore. Moreover, the ISD course does at good job of involving experts from planning authorities and private industry during the course itself and for the crit. For example, the ISD course has benefited of involvment from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the Public Utilities Board (PUB), the Building Construction Authority (BCA), the National Parks Board (NPark), Surbana Jurong, WSP, Transsolar, IEN Consultants and more.


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