Reader’s Response (Updated)

The article “This Detroit House is being turned into a living model of cost-saving sustainable design”, Peters (2016) illustrated how three architecture graduates, through their project ‘“Motown Movement”’, aim to share the techniques of constructing a “sustainable” house. Basing in Detroit, the students carried on with their project by constructing a house as a training facility to educate the locals of Detroit on the various sustainable living methods and modifications they can adopt to their houses to leverage on the various energy conservation and renewal methods. The project took on a “do-it-yourself” approach and materials used are available at various local supply stores. They aim for the project to be applicable across different global climates and to increase awareness of this movement. I feel that the efforts of the students are encouraging, however, I feel that the writer should note that not all communities around the world are as receptive and active to such movements as are the people of Detroit due to the inherent high costs and inconvenience which such sustainability methods possess.

The author stated a few techniques of sustainable living methods such as usage of solar energy, conversion of waste matter into “bio-gas” and usage of “waste heat” from nearby factories. However, one factor for the unwillingness to convert to sustainable living is the inefficiency of the energy conversion process. For example, the energy output of solar panels, which converts the sun’s solar energy into electrical energy, is not as efficient as the energy produced by conventional electricity power plants. This leads to higher costs compared to the ordinary non-eco-friendly option as more of such energy producing units (solar panel farms in this case) need to be built just to produce an equivalent amount of energy from non-eco-friendly energy sources which can do it in much smaller quantities and at much cheaper costs. In other words, it costs more to be ‘sustainable’.

Another downside to sustainable living is its inherent inconvenience. The author states that the materials for sustainable living are available in local household appliance stores. This was only referring to Detroit. However, people from other parts of the world choose non-eco-friendly products due to their convenience and wide availability. These products are fuss free, ready to use home appliances. Even manufacturers prefer to produce such ‘non-eco-friendly’ products as the materials used in the production are widely available to compared to sustainable products, which in most cases, the materials are specialized items which are hard to source for.

In conclusion, the author has elaborated about the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle for the environment and the positive support for it from the people of Detroit. However, I feel that despite the success of the movement in Detroit, for the architecture students to further promote their movement globally, much more effort and time would be required. The reason for this is due to the inherent inefficiency of sustainable energy producing units in transforming raw energy from sources such as the sun or wind into useful forms of energy. The inconvenience of using sustainable products and producing them is also a huge barrier for people to convert to sustainable living.

Cloete, S. (2013, Aug 6). The Fundamental Limitations of Renewable Energy. Retrieved, from http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/257351/fundamental-limitations-renewable-energy

 

Lake, R. (2015, July 3). What Are the Disadvantages of Going Green?. Retrieved, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/137345-what-are-disadvantages-going-green/

 

Mckeough, T. (2011, Sep 1). The Pros and cons of Going Green. Retrieved from http://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling-renovating/home-renovation/advice/a3426/the-pros-cons-of-going-green-a-70750/

 

Peters, A. (2016, July 7). This Detroit House Is Being Turned Into A Living Model Of Cost-Saving Sustainable Design. Retrieved, from https://www.fastcoexist.com/3061563/world-changing-ideas/this-detroit-house-is-being-turned-into-a-living-model-of-cost-saving-s

 

Smith, MA. (2012, Oct 1). Limitations of ‘Renewable’ Energy. Retrieved, from http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf

Communications Skills Reflection Updated

My communication skills, oral and written, has improved tremendously since the beginning of the course. I have learnt the various concepts to effective communication and I have continuously attempted to apply these concepts to further develop my skills. Through this learning experience, I learnt that one does not necessarily need to employ fanciful words or phrases in his speech or writing. In fact, being able to present one’s thoughts in a clear, concise and understandable manner triumphs over the usage of fanciful wordings and phrases as it ensures that the receiver paid full attention to speaker’s or writer’s intent, rather than struggling to decipher the words and terminologies used.

I have always enjoyed breaking down complex terminologies into simpler and understandable words or phrases, and this is a strength of mine. This strength was exemplified during the writing of the proposal report of which I took a keen interest in breaking down the language used in the research materials, which were often in the form of industrial ‘jargon’, into simpler words and phrases. This ensures that the reader, who may be unrelated to the industry, could still comprehend the meaning and intent of the report.

One weakness of mine is in my foundation of the English language. Even now, I still face difficulties in writing complete sentences, deciding the tenses to use, and constructing a clear and concise sentence. My other weakness is in maintaining my composure during a presentation. I often get too excited which results in me losing my train of thoughts. This was very destructive to my presentation.

I require more experiential learning in the form of formal writing and presentations in order to further develop and enhance my communication skills. I also have to read more to improve on my command of the English language, and be more attentive and mindful of my language whenever I speak.

 

Commented on –

Chris’s Blog on Communications Skills Reflection

Derrick’s Blog on Communications Skills Reflection

Alcina’s Blog on Analytical Reflection on Oral Presentation

Danish’s Blog on Analytical Reflection on Oral Presentation

Communication Skills Reflection

My communication skills, oral and written, has improved tremendously since the beginning of the course. I have learnt the various concepts to effective communication and I have continuously attempted to apply these concepts to further develop my skills. Through this learning experience, I learnt that one does not necessarily need to employ fanciful words or phrases in his speech or writing. In fact, being able to present one’s thoughts in a clear, concise and understandable manner triumphs over the usage of fanciful wordings and phrases as it ensures that the receiver paid full attention to speaker’s or writer’s intent, rather than struggling to decipher the words and terminologies used.

I have always enjoyed breaking down complex terminologies into simpler and understandable words or phrases, and this is a strength of mine. This strength was exemplified during the writing of the proposal report of which I took a keen interest in breaking down the language used in the research materials, which were often in the form of industrial ‘jargon’, into simpler words and phrases. This ensures that the reader, who may be unrelated to the industry, could still comprehend the meaning and intent of the report.

One weakness of mine is in my foundation of the English language. Even now, I still face difficulties in writing complete sentences, deciding the tenses to use, and constructing a clear and concise sentence. My other weakness is in maintaining my composure during a presentation. I often get too excited which results in me losing my train of thoughts. This was very destructive to my presentation.

I require more experiential learning in the form of formal writing and presentations in order to further develop and enhance my communication skills. I also have to read more to improve on my command of the English language, and be more attentive and mindful of my language whenever I speak.

Analytical Reflection of the Presentation Planning Process

There were two challenges I faced during the entire process. The first was in the preparation of the slides for the team: how to produce a set of slides which was easily understandable for the audience? These slides had to display sufficient content with a coherent flow to them.

Albert Einstein’s quote “if you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it enough”, served as my guide to tackling the first part of this challenge. Having a firm grasp of the topic at hand aided me tremendously in writing the script in a clear and concise manner, breaking highly technical terminologies into simpler terms which were easily comprehensible. This then enabled the audience to be focused on the topic rather than trying to decipher the meaning of the terms used.

The second part of the challenge was achieved by inserting cue animations, short phrases which captured the gist of the topic and reference junctures. Cue animations were inserted with the aim of capturing the audience’s attention while concurrently serving as a visual aid for the presenter to prompt himself of the phase of the presentation he was in. The scripts were also crafted for the presenters in a manner to ensure a smooth transition between points.

The second challenge was maintaining my composure. Having crafted the slides, I was confident of its contents. However, I had to maintain my composure to refrain from ‘drifting’ away from the main topic. I tackled this issue by constantly pinching my hands which prevented me from ‘speed talking’ which occurs when I am overly excited.

I feel that more could still be improved regarding my composure. There were times where I got too excited which resulted in me losing my train of thoughts (the reference junctures helped a lot but it is still not the primary method of tackling this issue).

In conclusion, the experience was truly an enriching one and I have learnt and gained tremendously from this journey.

Response of Enquiry from LTA

This is the Email from the LTA officer to me regarding my enquiry on the Park and Ride Scheme.

From: Kevin Teh [mailto:kevintehmk@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, 19 October, 2016 11:49 AM
To: (Blanked for privacy)
Subject: Equiry on the Park and Ride Scheme

 

Good day Mdm,

 

I am Kevin Teh, a student from Singapore Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land). I am representing my project group to enquire about the current Park and Ride Scheme as part of our project to write a proposal for an improvement of the Park and Ride scheme. The following are the set of questions our group has generated for our better understanding of the scheme.

 

1) Was the abuse of the Park and Ride scheme a major contributing factor to the debate of whether or not to continue the scheme?

Abuse of the Park & Ride scheme is part of the reason for discontinuing the scheme. We have considered various measures to tackle abuses, including the solutions which you have brought up. However, we found that the measures can be easily circumvented and are not cost effective.

Park & Ride was first implemented in 1975 as a scheme to reduce congestion in the CBD by encouraging drivers to switch to public transport before entering the CBD. With the expansion of our public transport network and improved connectivity and accessibility into the CBD over the years, commuters now have more choices to get into the CBD directly besides driving. Besides new rail lines to connect commuters directly and conveniently to the CBD, we have also introduced other transport options, such the City Direct Services.  Furthermore, with the improved walk, cycle and ride options, more commuters can consider taking public transport for the entire of their journeys in future.

Hence, with the many more options to travel into the CBD directly, the Park & Ride scheme is less relevant than before.  As part of LTA’s regular review of the scheme, we have decided to discontinue the Park & Ride scheme from 1 December 2016. Motorists can continue to use the car parks at normal parking rates.

 

2) What were the proposed preventive measures that the LTA had to prevent the abuse of the scheme?

 

3) Would requiring users of the scheme to make a formal application first before they could be eligible to apply for the scheme help in preventing the abuse of the current system? i.e. Users of the scheme would be required to apply for the scheme first and would be issued identity cards to identify themselves as successful applicants. As such, only the applicant would be able to make use of the incentives of the scheme and not a proxy.

 

4) Would enlisting the service of a private bus company to provide a shuttle bus service for users of the Park and Ride scheme help reduce the inconvenience of motorists? i.e Motorists currently have to switch to public transport and having to wait for the public transport adds on to their overall travel time. This was one of the contributing factors that made the scheme unfavourable to motorists.

Note: Users of the shuttle bus service will be required to display their identity card (issued upon successful application of the scheme) before they can board the shuttle bus. This ensures that only the applicant of the Park and Ride scheme is able to use the bus service thus preventing abuse of the system. (refer to Question 3 for application procedures)

 

Your guidance would be of tremendous help for our better understanding of the scheme and the formulation of our proposal to improve the scheme’s effectiveness. We hope to receive your response by 21 Oct 2016.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

Kevin Teh

Letter of Enquiry to the LTA

Good day Mdm,

I am Kevin Teh, a student from Singapore Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land). I am representing my project group to enquire about the current Park and Ride Scheme as part of our project to write a proposal for an improvement of the Park and Ride scheme. The following are the set of questions our group has generated for our better understanding of the scheme.

1) Was the abuse of the Park and Ride scheme a major contributing factor to the debate of whether or not to continue the scheme?

2) What were the proposed preventive measures that the LTA had to prevent the abuse of the scheme?

3) Would requiring users of the scheme to make a formal application first before they could be eligible to apply for the scheme help in preventing the abuse of the current system? i.e. Users of the scheme would be required to apply for the scheme first and would be issued identity cards to identify themselves as successful applicants. As such, only the applicant would be able to make use of the incentives of the scheme and not a proxy.

4) Would enlisting the service of a private bus company to provide a shuttle bus service for users of the Park and Ride scheme help reduce the inconvenience of motorists? i.e Motorists currently have to switch to public transport and having to wait for the public transport adds on to their overall travel time. This was one of the contributing factors that made the scheme unfavourable to motorists.

Note: Users of the shuttle bus service will be required to display their identity card (issued upon successful application of the scheme) before they can board the shuttle bus. This ensures that only the applicant of the Park and Ride scheme is able to use the bus service thus preventing abuse of the system. (refer to Question 3 for application procedures)

Your guidance would be of tremendous help for our better understanding of the scheme and the formulation of our proposal to improve the scheme’s effectiveness. We hope to receive your response by 21 Oct 2016.

Thank you.

Regards,

Kevin Teh

Problem Statement and Purpose Statment

1. Problem Statement
The Park & Ride scheme was introduced in the 1970s to tackle the traffic congestion issue in the CBD area. It did not take off well due to the inconvenience of switching to public transport and the abuse of the system by its users. The scheme was under close scrutiny for some time and LTA has finally announced that the scheme to be decommissioned with effect from 1 Dec 2016.

2. Purpose
This paper aims to propose new ways to: 1) Revamp the system of the Park and Ride Scheme to boost its user friendliness and 2) To tighten the eligibility criteria of the scheme to prevent any abuse of the system so as to ensure that the scheme’s benefits is able to reach out to only the intended parties.