Welcome to our Deep Dive Blog Series. Throughout this series, we will look at different locations around the globe to analyze some of the aspects that make them ideal candidates for the installation of our seasteading communities. These seasteads will be designed to withstand different forces and pressures from natural and man-made environments. Each location has been identified by Arktide as a place that would be strategic and fundamental in connecting our seasteading communities to existing global networks. With that being said, let us introduce you to Singapore.
Singapore is a sovereign city-state located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of the Equator. Singapore is one of the world’s smallest countries. This island nation is comprised of one main island and over 60 smaller ones. The main island is separated from Peninsular Malaysia to the north by the Johor Strait. The southern limits of Singapore run through the Singapore Strait, where Indonesian outliers extend to within 10 miles of the main island.
With an area of only 280 sq. mi. (725.7 sq. km), the country is home to a population of over 5 million residents, making it the second-largest population density in the world. Singapore is also the largest port in Southeast Asia and one of the busiest in the world. It owes its growth and prosperity to its focal position, where it dominates the Strait of Malacca connecting the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. Developing seasteading communities in surrounding waters could help to relieve some of that density while allowing the communities to be connected to existing global networks.
Migration has played a key role in Singapore’s development. As Singapore’s economy expanded during the 19th century, more and more Chinese, Indian, and Malay labor immigrants arrived. From the 1980s through the 2000s, the foreign population continued to grow as a result of policies aimed at attracting foreign workers of all skill levels. Skilled workers are encouraged to stay and are allowed to become permanent residents or citizens. With a high demand for skilled workers, seasteads working from their floating homes have a great opportunity to integrate into one of the world’s greatest economies.
Singapore has a highly developed free-market economy. It enjoys an open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. In addition to solidifying its position as a world trade center, it has developed powerful financial and industrial sectors. Gradually, production has been diversifying from labor-intensive industries such as textiles to high-tech activities like the manufacturing of electronics and precision equipment.
Singapore has few natural resources. No natural forests remain on the island and only a tiny fraction of the land area is classified as agricultural, with its production contributing a negligible amount to the overall economy. Cultivation is intensive, with vegetables and fruits grown and poultry raised for local consumption. The local fishing industry supplies only a portion of the total fresh fish requirement with most of the catch coming from offshore fishing vessels. A small aquaculture industry raises groupers, sea bass, and prawns for consumption. With Singapore lacking room for an ever-expanding agricultural requirement and seeing low fishing production, we see a great opportunity for seasteading communities. Arktide seasteads may be able to help relieve the intense cultivation of such small areas, allowing the land the time it needs to recover. This could help produce more food to help close the gap between supply and demand while helping to expand Singapore’s existing aquaculture industry.
The climate in Singapore is characterized by uniformly high temperatures and nearly constant precipitation throughout the year, with average temperatures staying between 81° F (27° C) in June to 77° F (25° C) in January. The seasons are defined by the relative rainfall, which is determined by the movements of the monsoon air masses. The wettest and windiest period is during the northeast monsoon (November–March), with rainfall reaching an average monthly high of more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) in December. Conversely, the period with the least amount of rainfall and the lightest winds is during the southwest monsoon (May–September), with rainfall dropping to a monthly low of less than 7 inches (17.78 cm) in July. April and October are inter-monsoonal periods characterized by sluggish air movements and intense afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Altogether, Singapore’s precipitation averages about 95 inches (241.3 cm) annually, and rain falls somewhere on the island every day of the year. Arktide seasteads will be built to withstand these seasonal changes.
A dense network of short streams drains the island, but floods are locally severe because of excessive water runoff from cleared land. Many streams have broad mangrove-fringed estuaries that extend far inland. The soils of eastern Singapore are extremely infertile. All have suffered extensive degradation through erosion as a result of generations of careless human exploitation. With seasteading, floods would not be as great of an issue, as these communities would already be floating on water. The development of aquaculture in these communities could also relieve the stress on agriculture and give Singapore the opportunity to find ways of revitalizing their lands.
Overall Singapore offers great opportunities for seasteads. The area also offers many challenges that could be solved from a seasteading approach. Through the development of new technologies and culture in the water, seasteading could help Singapore not only continue to thrive but also restore aspects that may currently hinder this nation from even more growth. We look forward to seeing what floating seasteads can contribute to the area.