Great Ideas for Future Cities

The Klang Valley floods last December and fears of future floods led to the creation of two winning ideas for the first ever Future City Ideas Competition organised by PAM and sponsored by ARCHIDEX

The competition was opened to PAM members who are architects or graduate architects, where it stimulated tremendous discussions and generated many ideas. The proposed sites must be within a 1.5km area and equivalent to the Central Business District.

Participants must propose ideas contributing to the betterment of the environment, such as reducing carbon footprint or speculations on life in future cities. 

But in the end, only six winners were selected out of 37.

“I think it is high time we have this competition instead of building competition as we are accustomed to,” said one of the judges, renowned Ar. Hijjas Kasturi

“This competition presents a bigger picture and perspective of the participants’ environment and stimulates them on ways to protect it, which is a big concern when it comes to preserving our inheritance, land, and culture.

“The ideas are pretty good, as they are diversified in ideas and presentation, which is what we wanted. We encouraged imagination without constraints and freedom of thought, like a philosophy of living in the future. 

PAM President Ar. Sarly Adre Sarkum praised the quality of submissions. 

“The diversity of ideas is impressive, as they covered many topics, from nanotech, NFT, and metaverse, to technology, food security, and future planning. 

“The feasibility of ideas depends on the time frame given, as we did not define a near or far future, but let the participants decide. Our current issues with climate change and population growth are pressing issues we are trying to resolve, clearly reflected in the winning entries.

Here’s what the winners have to share about their ideas and solutions:

First Prize

Winner: Muhammad Amiruddin Shah Bin Ahmad Nizam, Aiman Yusuf, and Hidayah Rosli

Project: Shorescape 

Our proposal focuses on the process of getting the design outcome for the future. Therefore, it is not a singular design bubble diagram but the process behind it and the integration of AI machine learning and human consciousness. 

The unique design process enhances the digital architecture and what technology upholds currently and in the future. How do we utilise machines such as nanobots etc.? It is not in the building environment or architecture but in engaging different disciplines, such as engineering. We did 160 iterations of designs based on AI and algorithms by the human consciousness. 

Second Prize

Winner: Ho Fook Keong

Future City

The sea has always fascinated me. We have taken a lot from the sea, but we have also damaged it. The sea is now coming back to “bite” us. So I created a floating city. 

I approached the city as a machine, a place where we work and play. It is a mobile city that can also go places and tackle the great pacific garbage patch. So, our version of Future City is a machine that plies the ocean.

The challenge was arranging the spaces precisely, so we decided on the idea of a ribbon in a continuous loop. 

Third Prize

Winner: Muhammad Qhawarizmi Bin Norhisham

Project: Nanopolis

Our proposal is a nano-sized metropolitan. After all, we see shrinkage of new technology to fit into our phone where previously it was a room-sized computer. So we know that we can scale down our cities to enable our world to heal. 

As we extend to planets like Mars, we can do a “reverse” on earth to let the ecology work naturally in healing the world by reducing our footprint and consumption of utilities like water and energy. 

Our idea of a Future City is still a collection of many cities. But each reduced in size to accommodate the population. 

Honourable Mention

Winner: Si Toh Chooi Yuan

Project: Skylantis

Skylantis is inspired by a vision of a vertical city in an urban centre. I have always loved compact, green cities, so the idea was a natural evolution. I find that the current models of cities are highly inefficient in their consumption of energy and other resources. Vertical cities are the most efficient and will be ideal for the future. 

Honourable Mention

Winner: Aainaa Bt Suhardi and Tien Jun Xiang

Project: Flood City

Flood City was inspired by thesis research by Jun Xiang, as the recent issues are more extreme and frequent than ever. So this proposal was a response to the city’s adaptability shortly. It is a timeline proposal. 

Firstly, we proposed a barrier to prevent future flooding, which can serve as an electricity station. Secondly, we suggested recycling the old, unused ships in Port Klang for adaptive reuse as habitation. Thirdly, we proposed living vessels as floating living typography. 

Our future cities will be flooded ones, as such, we are proposing ways to prepare and adapt to this situation. 

Honourable Mention

Winner: RDC Arkitek, in collaboration with Klo Plus Studio

  • Ar. CK Tan, director of RDC Arkitek
  • Ar. Peh Ker Neng, RDC Arkitek project architect
  • Ar. Alex Leong, RDC Arkitek project architect

Project: KLeVo

The recent floodings in KL inspired our idea. A significant cause of the flooding was the waste clogging our drainage system, which was primarily plastic, leading to environmental issues, including global warming. Malaysians are also throwing plastic into waterways, and we also receive plastic waste for processing.

So these problems had us thinking about how we can transform the new typography of an urban city? 

In a “sarcastic” way, we created a location in the heart of KL, called KLeVo, wholly enshrouded by a plastic membrane. 

Firstly, we use plastic waste to cover the city with a membrane of recycled materials. Secondly, we created a modular living space on existing buildings. Thirdly, the plastic waste we generate is recycled and regenerated as part of our lives. 

Plastic waste covers the city with a membrane with recycled materials. Second, we create a modular living space on existing building cos of overpopulation. Third, the plastic waste generated by us becomes recycled and regenerated as part of our lives. Instead of recycling, we make use of waste.