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Students from the Institute of Landscape Architecture are planning some natural ways to cool the heat-afflicted metropolis of Singapore. Their testing ground is a disused railway line reclaimed by nature and converted into a tropical recreation area.
The midday heat in Singapore is merciless. The sun over this tropical metropolis doesn't shine, it burns. That's why the city has air-conditioned underpasses that connect metro stations to shopping centres and office buildings, creating kilometres of interconnected tunnels that give its 5.6 million inhabitants at least some temporary respite from the adverse climate. This Wednesday lunchtime, ETH Professor of Landscape Architecture Christophe Girot, 4 teaching assistants and 14 students have sought shelter beneath the broad tin roof of the Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown. One of Singapore's countless down-to-earth food markets, it serves a wealth of delicious meals that combine the influences of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian cuisine – the dominant cultures of the former British Crown colony.
Spicy - Soup - Dumplings - Girot - Students
Tucking into a spicy noodle soup and Chinese dumplings, Girot explains why he brought his students to Singapore: "Most of them have never been to Asia, so it's hard for them to understand what life in a tropical metropolis is like – it's something physical you have to experience in the flesh." He hopes this experience will help his students gain a better understanding of the growing problem of urban heat islands (UHIs). Heat is increasingly posing health and energy challenges in big cities throughout the tropical belt, from Jakarta and Manila to Bangkok and Singapore.In Singapore, temperatures in central, heavily built-up areas such as Orchard Road sometimes exceed those in surrounding rural areas by up to 7 °C.
The city is heated not just by its tropical climate, but also by the continuous injection of anthropogenic heat from car exhausts, industry and fossil fuel power stations,...
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