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Spatializing the 6 Metres Wide Borderline

Part 2 Project 2012
Chu Hwai Lim
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore

The border space between Singapore and Malaysia is generally the Straits of Johor, however, there is a particular line drawn along this straits, which according to the International Boundary Committee, has a neutral zone of 6metres wide – the boundary vista, owned by neither country to avoid disputes and overlapping territories.

Rapid urbanization in the conurbation of Singapore-Iskandar Malaysia causes increasing social disparity & urban poverty. Recent disputes over establishment of Serangoon Garden foreign workers dormitory illustrates the severity of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) of high density living in Singapore. Since the plan to integrate these foreign entities with the local society has failed, the Singapore government has planned for establishment of township for foreign workers elsewhere to ease the social tension.
While similar situation postulated in Iskandar Malaysia forces certain disadvantaged groups of people further out of the city beyond reach to infrastructure, jobs and supports in the city.

However, the reality discovered is that both regions would still need these people to serve the development however deny their existence in vicinity and living. This project houses labour reserve along this terra nullius for the two regions to draw from, yet the two states do not have to be responsible over the social tension of their existence. The framework of NIMBY does not apply on this third entity on the Terra Nullius (no man’s land) between these 2 dense populated regions because it is ‘outside’ yet accessible to both regions.

The phenomenon: the greater the social and economical inequity, the more people would move into this space, and this architecture would develop longer and more densified, effectively blocking the view of each other across the straits, inducing thoughts of the societies towards the severity of this social issue. However, should the social and economical equity returns; this architecture would ironically diminish.

This thesis aims to stand as a critique to the growing social issue of NIMBY and social polarization due to the development of the two regions - the Borderline then serves as the conscientious spatial mirror between the two states within the very space that separates them.

Chu Hwai Lim

Tutor(s)

2012
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