Gregory Scruggs, Next City
Yingxin Zhou works as a mining engineer in a country with no mines. He’s from Singapore, a city-state of 5.6 million residents spread over just 277 square miles. “We don’t have gold, oil, or diamonds,” he said at this week’s World Urban Forum 9. “But we mine something equally precious: space.”
The central government of Singapore, which sets ambitious goals for economic growth, envisions the population growing to 6.9 million by 2030 in order to keep up with GDP objectives. That means fitting another 1.3 million residents on an island three-fifths the size of New York City.
Singapore has been reclaiming land from the sea since independence, but that’s proving increasingly unsustainable in an era of global climate change and sea-level rise. So where else to go?