Adapting Waterfonts: Postcards from the Future, Singapore 2122


Imagine a postcard sent from Singapore 100 years in the future.
 What might someone write back and what images would they send to describe how the country has responded to sea-level rise in the 22nd century? 

Adapting WaterfrontsPostcards from the future, Singapore 2122 is an interactive installation that addresses these questions and invites the public to explore the past, present, and potential future transformations of the country’s shoreline.

Postcards from the Future, Singapore 2122
Image of Adapting Waterfronts Augmented Reality historic shoreline trail - Site #11 Lau Pa Sat Market Past, Present, and Future (Source: “The construction of the new Telok Ayer Market,” c. 1890, image no. 2007-50642, Collection of the National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board. Photo collage by Gabriel Kaprielian

The installation showcases “Postcards from the Future” created by scientists, architects, and artists, that envision sea-level rise adaptation in the 22nd century. These postcards are included into a guided tour along a proposed heritage trail of Singapore's historic shoreline, which brings the past and future to life through Augmented Reality (AR) installations that visualise place-based changes across time at designated locations. A Pop-Up Gallery located along the original beach at the base of Mount Palmer contains a physical exhibition of the work and serves as a starting point for the AR historic shoreline trail of Singapore’s “Adapting Waterfronts”.  

Site 2 of the Adapting Waterfronts AR project
Image of Adapting Waterfronts AR Tour Site #2 – Augmented Reality Installation (Source: Gabriel Kaprielian)

The Adapting Waterfronts project’s unique breadth draws together the creativity from diverse communities across disciplines fostering transdisciplinary collaboration and international cooperation on the global issue of sea-level rise adaptation. The project seeks to inspire collective optimism and empower informed action by reframing the challenges of sea-level rise as an opportunity for design innovation. 

While many countries are planning for a projected sea-level rise of 1-metre by 2100, high-emission models show a potential 5-metre rise by 2150. As it is unknown how fast the ice sheets will melt, combined with the additional effects of increased flooding due to more extreme weather events, coastal cities around the world will need to plan for uncertainty. By providing a platform to exchange knowledge and enable discourse about future sea-level rise, Adapting Waterfronts speculates on how Singapore can develop a long-term planning framework that supports climate change resilience and biodiversity in a win-win strategy that increases the role of nature-based solutions that embrace tidal ecologies in urban environments as a part of the Green Plan and City in Nature vision.

The Adapting Waterfronts: Postcards from the Future, Singapore 2122 project was developed by Gabriel Tenaya Kaprielian, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Temple University, as part of a U.S. Scholar Fulbright, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University Singapore. Additional support provided by the Collection of the National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board and the National Archives of Singapore.

Adapting Waterfronts AR Shoreline heritage trail map
Image of Adapting Waterfronts AR Tour – Site Map (Source: Gabriel Kaprielian)

Access information

  • Adapting Waterfronts: Postcards from the Future, Singapore 2122 is free to access for all.
  • The Pop-Up Gallery is open for viewing from June 18th to June 26th, 2022, at 70 Shenton Way #01-04, Singapore 079118.
  • Guided walks of the Augmented Reality historic shoreline trail are available upon registration (on a first-come, first-served basis) on June 19th, 25th and 26th at 4pm starting at the Pop-Up Gallery and ending at the Boat Quay. The guided walk is approximately 3-km long and takes about 2 hours. Register for a guided walk at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adapting-waterfronts-augmented-reality-tour-historic-shoreline-trail-tickets-358262622147
  • Self-guided walks of the Augmented Reality historic shoreline trail are open to all from June 19th to June 26th along an approximately 7.5km path that extends from the Pop-Up Gallery to the Victoria Street Bridge. Visitors can start anywhere along the path and stop at the different sites to visualise the past, present, and future. Download the guidelines here.

Augmented Reality

Email questions to Gabriel Kaprielian: adaptingwaterfronts@gmail.com

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