The Singapore-ETH Centre was established in Singapore in 2010 by ETH Zurich - the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the National Research Foundation, under the NRF’s CREATE programme. Based in Singapore, the centre is the only research centre set up by ETH Zurich outside of Switzerland.
The centre serves as an intellectual hub for research, scholarship, entrepreneurship, postgraduate and postdoctoral training aimed at providing practical solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges on environmental sustainability. The centre currently runs two research programmes: the Future Resilient Systems and the Future Cities Laboratory.
The Future Resilient Systems (FRS) programme develops a framework, concepts, and tools to make interconnected infrastructure systems more robust and resilient.
Infrastructure: the ‘Backbone’ of Society
The modern society of today is highly dependent on the network of infrastructure systems that provide essential services to its inhabitants, including energy, transport, communication, financial, production, emergency, and other services that support day-to-day activities.
Today, a growing range of hazards threatens infrastructure systems, including natural, technological, economic, social, cyber, and political threats. Social and behavioural factors in decision making also result in new patterns of disruptive behaviour. To address the challenges of increasingly interconnected and complex infrastructure systems, the FRS was established in 2014.
Paradigm Shift Towards Resilient Systems
The FRS programme explores ways to make infrastructure systems more resilient, enabling them to absorb shock, recover, self-organise, learn, and eventually self-modify, much like a biological system. This paradigm change from system resistance to system resilience is a promising framework to cope with uncertain future shocks of unexpected magnitudes.
FRS contributes to a paradigm shift by
- Improving our understanding of the interdependencies of critical infrastructure systems
- Developing a simulation platform to assess the interaction of complex engineered systems
- Providing tools and indicators to assess the resilience of energy systems
- Improving our understanding of the role of human factors in system robustness and resilience
Combining science and design, the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) develops new knowledge, technologies, and approaches for a sustainable urban future with an Asian perspective.
To achieve sustainability, science is essential. Science provides the basis for understanding how cities develop and interact with the environment at different spatial scales. A city is a complex system with a quantifiable ‘metabolism’ composed of diverse stocks and flows of resources. The scientific focus of FCL’s research is to quantify and understand that metabolism, and how it is best structured and organised for the benefit of sustainable cities.
A sustainable city must also be liveable. Good design could translate scientifically sound solutions into plans for urban environments that are socially and economically viable. The design component of our research focuses upon the quality of life – well-being, comfort, convenience, security, and satisfaction – that cities offer to their inhabitants, while ensuring that solutions contribute to urban sustainability.
Science and design are effective only if they serve places and the lives that are lived in them. Places result from differentiating factors (geography, culture, language, history) and common processes (growth and decline; competition and cooperation; ebb and flow of capital, people, goods, technologies and ideas; climate change).
FCL’S research focusses on forms of city that are important in Asia:
- Compact cities: with very high population densities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei.
- Extended cities: with a mosaic of urban and rural land-use, and locally high densities; the dominant urban form in Asia, such as Bangkok, Jakarta, and Manila.
- Responsive cities: wireless, sensor, and broadband-enabled technologies improve planning and management in cities like Singapore, Copenhagen, and Zurich.
Download the Future Resilient Systems (FRS) Factsheet
Download the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) Factsheet
Download the Future Health Technologies (FHT) Factsheet
Where to Find Us
1 CREATE Way,
CREATE Tower, #06-01
Future Resilient Systems: https://scholar.google.com/
Future Cities Laboratory: https://www.research-