“.. Close to 60% of the world’s population, are currently clustering themselves in cities varying in size across the globe. With that, comes a need to create cities that are livable and affordable. The inevitable is that the cities will continue to experience tremendous growth. From this growth, we need to ensure that the quality of life and professional productivity of human beings within these areas are sustainable..” – Ir. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Satesh Namasivayam, the Team Leader for Flagship Programme Innovation Technologies and an Integrated Sustainable Framework to Address Environmental, Economic, Health and Social Challenges in the Planning, Designing and Maintaining of Asian Cities.
According to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, for Goal 11, there are 4 important pillars in order to enhance the livability of human within cities globally. What are those important pillars? Firstly, is acknowledging Innovative Technologies. The development and implementation of technologies that aim at enhancing quality of life in cities, as well as reducing the use of resources and consumption of energy, will indefinitely be a necessity. Secondly, understanding the Surrounding and Living Environment. By performing studies into key factors that will affect the quality of the surrounding environment within cities, human health and wellbeing can be positively affected. Next, is to recognize the Purpose and Identity of a city. This is done by understanding the key factors that would contribute towards the redevelopment of a livable city through the engagement of its residents, thus creating a sense of identity and belonging. From there, lastly we will be able to engineer ‘Sustainability’, developing an integrated framework to ensure cities continue to prosper and act as conduits for economic growth.
These are the inspiration for Ir. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Satesh Namasivayam, for his research program on Innovation Technologies and an Integrated Sustainable Framework to Address Environmental, Economic, Health and Social Challenges in the Planning, Designing and Maintaining of Asian Cities. The program consist of staff from the School of Architecture, Building and Design, School of Engineering, School of Computing, School of Business, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and School of Hospitality. This comprehensive research relies on each School’s representative expertise. One of the key strategy planning projects under Art, Architecture & Place Making is Improving Emerging ASEAN Cities via Public Art, Materiality & Tourism, By Dr. Keith Tan Kay Hin. A process to understand the correlation between public art and the pattern of emerging tourism in Asia. Besides that, Sotheeswani Somsundram leads a multi-disciplinary team to study livability and affordability in the greater KL & Klang Valley.
This approach is divided to, understanding the key areas of indicators and homelessness, and connecting with the stakeholders involved with the key area. These studies involve the residents of Subang Jaya, Soup Kitchen (NGO for Feeding the Homeless), Think City and the respective Members of Parliament in Subang and Klang. Apart from that, Dr. Chockalingam Aravind is leader the project for Energy Infrastructure for Urban Terrains through Sustainable Future Technology. He aims to research novel nanomaterials based on an eutectic mixture for solar harvesting applications. Next is to develop low velocity wind generators, which are viable and suitable for wind velocity as low as 3m/s for placement in more diverse geographical areas. Besides that, Dr. Chockalingam aims to develop an independent generator that creates less inertia and run at as constant speed, which means equally constant power regeneration.
Dr. Camelia May Li Kusumo’s project is focusing on Rejuvenating the Forgotten Waterfront Settlement in Malaysia, with specific reference to the Royal Town of Klang. This project is segmented into two sustainable strategies: social environment, and built environment. The social environment strategies focuses on sensing the identity & belonging, including the importance of education, as well as understanding the need for food and place. From the built environment strategies, the focus is on urban climate comfort, water management and urban regeneration & eco master planning. The research components involve understanding the direction of the surrounding community; which representation the identity and belonging for the Klang community. While Dr. Camelia focuses on beautifying the surrounding, Dr. Mohamed Hosseini focuses on the enhancement of human health and well-being in Asian Cities. His project revolves around CNT-Fiber acoustic panels. It is a form of natural fibers, which absorbs noise, provides zero echoing, and most importantly to improve the rate of hearing; for instance, the enhancement of your hearing ability during a class session. These acoustic panels are more than just design fixtures; they cater to two of our five senses; sight and hearing. Besides that, Dr. Hosseini aims to elucidate the antibacterial, antifungal and antibiofilm property of CNT and its effectiveness in inhibiting microbial.
Each of these five projects is linked into one community project, which in turn will contribute towards a sustainable framework for the environment. It is time that we address the environmental, economics, health and social challenges that we face daily. The planning, designing and maintenance of Asian cities plays an imperative role in shaping the future for our next generation. With the guidance of Goal 11 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, each schools are conjointly working together to ensure that the right time frame is met in order to sustainably achieve a fruitful outcome.